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updated: 6/25/2012 9:51 AM

20 finalists to take the stage in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent

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  • Musician Chris Errera of Schaumburg is a top 20 finalist for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

       Musician Chris Errera of Schaumburg is a top 20 finalist for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Shawn Kurian of Wheeling, left, and Sanu John of Skokie do two-man a cappella as iLLest Vocals. They're among the top 20 finalists for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

       Shawn Kurian of Wheeling, left, and Sanu John of Skokie do two-man a cappella as iLLest Vocals. They're among the top 20 finalists for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Guitarist John Koziol performed an original piece during the preliminary audition rounds of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. He made it through to the top 20.

       Guitarist John Koziol performed an original piece during the preliminary audition rounds of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. He made it through to the top 20.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Sophmore 64 duo Jake Basala, 16, left, and Calvin Hughes, 17, both of Lindenhurst, make music with a Commodore 64 and Nintendo Game Boy device. They are among the top 20 finalists in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

       Sophmore 64 duo Jake Basala, 16, left, and Calvin Hughes, 17, both of Lindenhurst, make music with a Commodore 64 and Nintendo Game Boy device. They are among the top 20 finalists in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sophmore 64 duo Jake Basala, 16, left, and Calvin Hughes, 17, both of Lindenhurst, make music with a Commodore 64 and Nintendo Game Boy device. They are among the top 20 finalists in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

       Sophmore 64 duo Jake Basala, 16, left, and Calvin Hughes, 17, both of Lindenhurst, make music with a Commodore 64 and Nintendo Game Boy device. They are among the top 20 finalists in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Camille Eiseman and Terry Tank, both of Crystal Lake, perform as Faith & Whiskey during preliminary auditions for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. They advanced to be among the top 20 finalists for the talent competition.

       Camille Eiseman and Terry Tank, both of Crystal Lake, perform as Faith & Whiskey during preliminary auditions for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. They advanced to be among the top 20 finalists for the talent competition.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • AJ Lubecker of Algonquin, 18, is a top 20 finalist for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. His 16-year-old brother, Shane, is also a top 20 finalist, but as a yo-yo artist.

       AJ Lubecker of Algonquin, 18, is a top 20 finalist for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. His 16-year-old brother, Shane, is also a top 20 finalist, but as a yo-yo artist.
    Steven Berczynski | Staff Photographer

  • Agne Giedraityte, 10, of Downers Grove competes in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent auditions at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Agne is one of 11 singers featured in the top 20 finalists for the competition.

       Agne Giedraityte, 10, of Downers Grove competes in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent auditions at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Agne is one of 11 singers featured in the top 20 finalists for the competition.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Suburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist AJ Lubecker, 18, of Algonquin is competing against his brother, 16-year-old yo-yo artist Shane Lubecker, who is also a top 20 finalist.

       Suburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist AJ Lubecker, 18, of Algonquin is competing against his brother, 16-year-old yo-yo artist Shane Lubecker, who is also a top 20 finalist.
    Chelsey Boutan | Staff Photographer

  • Suburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist Shane Lubecker, 16, of Algonquin, is competing against his 18-year-old brother, AJ Lubecker, who is also a top-20 finalist.

       Suburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist Shane Lubecker, 16, of Algonquin, is competing against his 18-year-old brother, AJ Lubecker, who is also a top-20 finalist.
    Chelsey Boutan | Staff Photographer

  • Chelsey Boutan/cboutan@dailyherald.comSuburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist Sarah Breidenbach of Mount Prospect.

      Chelsey Boutan/cboutan@dailyherald.comSuburban Chicago's Got Talent top 20 finalist Sarah Breidenbach of Mount Prospect.

  • Video: Watch auditions

 
 

Two pianists will duel. Eleven singers will vie to out-sing everyone else on the stage. There's even a sibling rivalry subplot with two brothers, a comedian and a yo-yo artist, are pitted against each other.

These are among the 20 finalists competing to win Suburban Chicago's Got Talent, a summerlong contest co-sponsored by the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, Schaumburg-based law firm Gardi & Haught LTD, Wintrust Bank and the Daily Herald.

Now, it's up to the finalists to wow the judges when they perform in a public show at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 8, at the Metropolis, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights.

"It's going to be a very exciting show," said Charlie Beck, executive director of the Metropolis and a judge for the competition. "It's going to be hard to winnow it down from this."

Nearly 200 contestants showed up at the preliminary closed-door auditions of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent held two weeks ago at the Metropolis. Beck and the other judges chose their favorites, then spent some time vetting the contestants and their amateur status.

"We wanted to make sure that they were still interested in pursuing the competition and that they would be available for all three rounds in the event that they were able to move on," Beck said. "We were delighted that the top 20 we selected all committed and all passed the test."

The July 8 show and subsequent Metropolis rounds of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent are open to the public. They will feature guest judges to assist Beck and his Metropolis judging colleagues, education director Michelle Shaver and music director Micky York.

After the top 20 show, the next stages of the competition will include a performance for the top 10 finalists at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 22. Then, the final five will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, and also on Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Taste of Arlington Heights, when the winner will be announced.

The top prize for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is a chance to audition for NBC's next season of "America's Got Talent," while the fan favorite (to be voted on online by the general public) will win a FunJet vacation for two.

No doubt friends and family will be cheering on the finalists, none more so than Carolyn Lubecker of Algonquin, the mother of two top 20 finalists: 18-year-old comedian AJ Lubecker and 16-year-old yo-yo artist Shane Lubecker.

"I will cheer equally for both of them," said Carolyn Lubecker, a former owner of the Hoffman Estates-based studio Dancing Feet, which is now The Dance Project. "But obviously it's a competition and they can't both win."

Lubecker says both her sons are naturally competitive with each other, even though their talents are vastly different.

"I would like them to go together as far as they can," Carolyn Lubecker said. "They both have fairly different acts so their chances are pretty good."

Indeed, the Lubecker brothers' talents are unique in the top 20 lineup, which also includes four bands, two pianists, a dance troupe and 11 singers, some of whom play their own instruments or write their own material.

So far, Beck said, there hasn't been any name-calling or shouting among the judges, as frequently happens on reality TV competitions. Yet narrowing down the finalists is bound to provoke discussions.

"How do you compare the yo-yo artist with a comedian or a singer? That's going to make it trickier," Beck said. "If all of them come and bring their A-game, which I encourage them to do, that's going to make it that much harder to narrow the list down."

Here are the top 20 contestants of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. Look for more information on each contestant in the Friday, July 6, edition of Time out! in the Daily Herald.

• Analiesse Albergo of Bartlett, 14, singer.

• AudioBakery band featuring Zak Sprenger, 20, of Buffalo Grove, Jon "Fluky" Nadel, 20, of Chicago, Bradley Bacci, 20, of Prairie View and Brett Schomen, 21, of Iowa City, Iowa.

• Sarah Breidenbach of Mount Prospect, 26, singer, with accompanist Ken McMullen, 38, of Palatine.

• Chris Errera of Schaumburg, 39, pianist.

• The duo Faith & Whiskey featuring singer Camille Eiseman, 41, and guitarist Terry Tank, 50, both of Crystal Lake.

• Agne Giedraityte of Downers Grove, 10, singer.

• Shawn Michael Hutchings of Lake Zurich, 40, singer.

• iLLest Vocals featuring singers Sanu John, 25, of Skokie and Shawn Kurian, 25, of Wheeling.

• Woody James of Millington, 20, singer.

• John Koziol of Lake Forest, 48, singer.

• Hannah Leclair of Johnsburg, 15, singer

• AJ Lubecker of Algonquin, 18, comedian.

• Shane Lubecker of Algonquin, 16, yo-yo artist.

• Mark Lyons of Palatine, 48, singer.

• Kelsey Martin of Prospect Heights, 18, singer.

• Robert Osiol of Mount Prospect, 19, pianist.

• Sophmore 64 featuring Lindenhurst electronica band members Calvin Hughes, 17, and Jake Basala, 16.

• The Rendezvous featuring band members Ricky Silva, 20, of Glendale Heights, and Leo d'Ambrosio, 20, of Carol Stream.

• Elk Grove Village-based Rodriguez Dance Theatre, featuring dancers Jamie Hayden, 31, of Oak Park, Diana Corral, 23, of Woodridge, Brittany Vujasin, 19, of Des Plaines, Amy Echols, 25, of Algonquin and Julia Dostal, 25, of Des Plaines.

• Spectators band featuring Walter Halliwell, 17, of Batavia, Chris Ford, 17, of Aurora, Aaron and Josiah Viland, 14 and 17 respectively, both of Batavia.

Contest: Fan favorite will win Funjet vacation

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