Young overseas Vietnamese will return to Vietnam to compete in the Sao Mai (Morning Star) Television Singing Competition from July 26 to August 15.

The overseas Vietnamese competitors from Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Italy were selected at a preliminary contest held in Prague on July 12.

The final competition will take place at FLC - Sam Son Resort in Thanh Hoa province, with seven overseas Vietnamese competing alongside 29 singers who live in Vietnam.

According to composer Luong Ngoc Minh, the contest's organiser, Sao Mai has made a name for itself in Vietnamese communities abroad since it started in 2013.

The finalists will compete for the awards in three categories: chamber music, folk and pop.

The biennial competition provides a boost for talented singers starting their careers. Performers like Trong Tan, Anh Tho and Thanh Thuy became famous after winning Sao Mai.

"Unlike in previous seasons, the competitors this year are allowed to present international songs, but the lyrics should be in Vietnamese," Minh said at a recent press conference. He is also the deputy head of Vietnam Television's Literature and Art Department.

In the final round, each performer will perform a duet with one of their rivals.

"A professional singer doesn't just need to know how to perform on their own – they also need the skills required for performing as a team," Minh said.

The judges' names haven't been revealed yet. Unlike other music game shows or reality shows where winners receive cash rewards or recording contracts, Sao Mai gives winners the chance to perform regularly on national TV and in major Vietnam Television music programmes.

Despite the non-cash prize, thousands of young people registered for the tryouts, which took place in three places around Vietnam, as well as in Europe.

Contestant Tran Ngoc Lam of the northern province of Yen Bai said he decided to audition because the prestigious competition could boost his career.

"Although game show winners may become famous more quickly thanks to those shows' advertising campaigns, I believe that Sao Mai gives its winners more in the long term, as they become more mature through the contest," he said.

The chamber, folk and pop finales will be broadcast live at 8.30pm on VTV1 on July 26, August 1 and August 8, respectively.

A grand finale featuring the 12 best contestants will be shown on August 15 at 8pm on VTV1. The winner will also be announced that night.-VNA