It's getting down to the wire to vote for your favorite suburban talent star. The top 10. will perform at Metropolis in Arlington Heights on Sunday, July 22. The top five will perform on Sunday, Aug. 5, and the winner will be crowned during the Taste of Arlington Heights on Saturday, Aug. 11.
Rock 'n' roll performances, comedy, even a guy doing mind-blowing things with a yo-yo -- all were among the skills on display Sunday during the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition in Arlington Heights.
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The top 20 acts, pared down from 145 initial entries, squared off in front of a packed house at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is a summerlong competition that will provide one winner a chance to audition for NBC-TV's next season of "America's Got Talent."
Each act performed for roughly five minutes and then heard comments from a panel of four judges -- Charlie Beck, executive director of Metropolis; Michelle Shaver, Metropolis' education director; Micky York, Metropolis' music director; and guest judge Margo Berzins, director of marketing for Schaumburg law firm Gardi & Haught LTD.
The Spectators, a Batavia-based pop band, opened things up Sunday with an original tune called "Departure" that reminded judges of 80s group The Cure. Beck praised the band's skill, but asked all the members to be as energetic on stage as bassist Chris Ford of Aurora.
"Your bassist is an animal!" Beck said.
Ten-year-old singer Agne G of Downers Grove (her full name is Agne Giedraityte) wowed the judges with her powerful voice and poise. Her performance was interrupted early on by technical problems, forcing her to start again.
"I'm so proud of how you handled that," Shaver said.
Comedic singer Mark Lyons of Palatine got the audience laughing with his sarcastic musical ode to the Illinois tollway system, complete with a recently added verse about the I-PASS.
York, who often critiqued the contestants' appearance and presentation as much as their performances, said Lyons was funny, but spent too much time talking to the audience at the start.
Shane Lubecker of Algonquin was an audience favorite because of his amiable demeanor and his unusual talent -- doing tricks with a yo-yo.
He spun and twirled the yo-yo in seemingly impossible ways while accompanied by the theme song to the 1980s TV show "The A-Team."
"I never knew you could do all that with a yo-yo," Berzins said.
Sarah Breidenbach of Mount Prospect performed a well-received rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." After her performance, she said she felt very good about how it went.
"That song means a lot to me personally, and I was very proud to sing it as part of this," she said.
The judges will decided soon which of Sunday's performers will move on to the top 10. Those contestants will perform at Metropolis on Sunday, July 22. The top five will perform on Sunday, Aug. 5, and the winner will be crowned during the Taste of Arlington Heights on Saturday, Aug. 11.
In addition, Daily Herald readers can pick a "Fan Favorite" by watching videos of all 20 performances at dailyherald.com/entlife/talent and casting votes. The Fan Favorite will win a vacation from Funjet.
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is co-sponsored by Metropolis, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, Gardi & Haught, Wintrust Bank, College Textbooks and the Daily Herald.