To borrow a past slogan used by a local professional baseball team, the five remaining acts in the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition went all in on Sunday.
It was their last chance to impress the judges, so the acts pushed themselves, trying out new material, new styles and new presentations during the final competition round at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.
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Each of the acts performed twice for the panel of four judges -- Charlie Beck, Metropolis' executive director; Michelle Shaver, Metropolis' education director; Micky York, Metropolis' music director; and guest judge Barbara Vitello, theater critic for the Daily Herald.
Country-music duo Faith and Whisky changed things up by performing with a full band for the first time in the competition. The judges welcomed the addition of drums, electric guitar and pedal steel, but they also liked that the two leads, singer Camille Eiseman and singer/guitarist Terry Tank, both of Crystal Lake, weren't overshadowed.
"I like that you didn't allow the band to take the focus away from you," Vitello said.
Yo-yo master Shane Lubecker of Algonquin, who has wowed the crowds with his technical wizardry in the past, added a dose of showmanship to his act. In his second piece, he performed under a black light, so that his yo-yo and certain parts of his attire glowed in the dark. He choreographed his tricks to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."
"It was awesome," York said. "You did exactly what you needed to do."
Woody James, the deep-voiced country singer from Millington, played a three-song medley as his second performance.
He showed off the higher range of his vocals in the first two parts before returning to his Johnny Cash-like rumble.
The judges loved it, particularly after his first performance of the evening, which they thought only hinted at his skill with the lower register.
The hip-hop duo iLLest Vocals added a dash of choreography and live drumming to their vocals-and-beatboxing repertoire.
Shaver praised Shawn Kurian of Wheeling and Sanu John of Skokie for letting their personal friendship come through in the performances.
Robert Osiol of Mount Prospect continued to dazzle by layering disparate musical styles together in a pair of piano performances. In his second piece, he combined the jazz song "Autumn in New York" with music from Radiohead and Stevie Wonder.
Beck said Osiol's performances were "inspiring" and praised him as a "musical genius."
The final five will perform again on Saturday during the Taste of Arlington Heights. The winner, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to audition for the next season of NBC's "America's Got Talent," will be announced at the Taste.
Also announced will be the competition's Fan Favorite, who will win a vacation trip for two.
Videos of the performances will be posted on dailyherald.com later in the week.