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Article updated: 1/27/2013 5:54 PM

Suburbanites audition for 'America's Got Talent'

By Matt Arado

They charmed the suburbs; now they're focusing on the rest of America.

The two members of the beat-boxing musical group known as iLLest Vocals were among the many hopefuls who auditioned in Chicago over the weekend for a chance to perform in the upcoming season of NBC's "America's Got Talent."

The group, consisting of Shawn Kurian of Wheeling and Sanu John of Skokie, won last summer's regional competition, "Suburban Chicago's Got Talent," with a magnetic act that combined soulful singing and infectious beat-boxing.

"It would be great if we could take this on to that bigger stage," Kurian said Sunday.

Kurian said neither he nor John was nervous when it came time to perform in front of "America's Got Talent" producers at McCormick Place.

"We've been through this kind of thing before and we've been playing together for awhile," he said. "So there really weren't any nerves. I think it went well, but now we just have to wait."

Chicago is one of many cities that have hosted auditions for "America's Got Talent" -- auditions in New York and New Orleans are still to come. When all are complete, producers will begin calling back performers for another round of auditions in front of the show's celebrity judges.

Mark Lyons of Palatine, who made it into the top 20 finalists during the suburban contest, also auditioned Sunday for "America's Got Talent."

"I think it went very well," the singer-songwriter-musician said. "They asked me to do a second performance today, and they were very interested in the fact that I can yodel."

Lyons said he brought a guitar and a ukulele with him to the audition, but decided to play the ukulele.

"It made me stand out a bit," he said. "So many people there were playing guitars."

Comedian and Algonquin native A.J. Lubecker auditioned for the show Saturday. The DePaul University student sounded confident about his audition, but said the lack of a live audience meant he couldn't tell if his jokes worked or not.

"It's hard to gauge," said Lubecker, who was a top 10 finalist in "Suburban Chicago's Got Talent."

Producers are expected to start calling contestants back next month. Only those who will be invited to the next round will be contacted.

Daily Herald Staff Writer Russell Lissau contributed to this report.

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