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posted: 7/19/2013 6:00 AM

Finalists stepping up for next round of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent

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  • Karen and Sean Slavin

      Karen and Sean Slavin

  • Joey White

      Joey White

  • Kimberly Church

      Kimberly Church

  • Mark Lyons

      Mark Lyons

  • Ryan Cooper

      Ryan Cooper

  • Andrew Johnston

      Andrew Johnston

  • Viper Fever

      Viper Fever

  • Tiffany Streng

      Tiffany Streng

  • Luke Young, left, and Ronnie Greco of Chinese Take Out

      Luke Young, left, and Ronnie Greco of Chinese Take Out

  • Mary Hilbrink

      Mary Hilbrink

  • Riley Mangan

      Riley Mangan

  • Gabriela Francesca

      Gabriela Francesca

  • Sheridan Archbold

      Sheridan Archbold

  • Dave Siemiaszko

      Dave Siemiaszko

  • San Sandberg

      San Sandberg

  • No Immunity

      No Immunity


How did the list of the Top 15 finalists become 16 for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent?

Scoring after the initial 30 finalists performed resulted in a tie in the summer-long talent competition, which is presented by the Daily Herald, produced by the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and sponsored by the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.

"This year, the judges are each rank-ordering the contestants, but we're also getting votes from the audience who attended the shows," said judge and Metropolis executive director Charlie Beck. "It ended up with a tie for the point values of the 15th position."

Beck's fellow judges are Metropolis music director Micky York, College of DuPage director of theater Connie Canaday Howard and Daily Herald writer Barbara Vitello, who reviews theater.

Each judge ranked the Top 30 contestants in positions to correspond with numerical points. Together, their votes count for 80 percent of a contestant's score -- with audience voting providing another 20 percent.

And Beck said those audience votes helped some contestants move on.

The audience will once again have a chance to hold some sway in who advances to the Top 10.

One way is to vote in person at the Top 16 performance round set for 7 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at Metropolis in Arlington Heights.

The other way is online at starting the morning of Tuesday, July 23.

Visitors to the site can watch videos of the performances and cast votes for a Fan Favorite before voting closes the morning of July 26.

"The Fan Favorite is automatically passed through to the next round," Beck said. "It will be interesting to see if the Fan Favorite vote is different from the judges and those who attend the show."

The ultimate Fan Favorite -- based on voting in this round and the next -- also wins a Funjet Vacation for two, and the winner will be announced following a performance of the Top 10 on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Taste of Arlington Heights.

The overall winner of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent gets an expenses-paid trip to audition next season for producers of NBC's "America's Got Talent."

"I, of course, hope that people raise their game," said Micky York about the upcoming shows. "But knowing who you are as an artist and a performer is a big part of getting the audience behind you."

Here are the 16 acts who will perform Sunday, July 21:

Sheridan Archbold

Hometown: Yorkville

Occupation: Student

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was happy.

Competition plans: I prepared a very special act, that's going to be a surprise.

Chinese Take Out

Featuring: Luke Young and Ronnie Greco

Hometown: Lombard

Occupation: High school students

Talent: Beatboxing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: We were thrilled we made it through to the next round! One down and hopefully many to go!

Competition plans: Next round we plan to show more of our overall beatbox skills that the judges and crowd didn't fully see! We'll turn it up a notch and spit what we've actually got!

Kimberly Church

Hometown: Carpentersville

Occupation: Vocal/guitar/piano teacher

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was so excited! I was teaching a lesson when my caller ID read Metropolis Performing Arts, and I knew who it was, but I couldn't take the call because I was teaching! I had to get through the lesson without reaching for my phone which was so hard. Ha, ha!

Competition plans: My mom always tells me, "You never know what's going to happen in the future, so do your very best today. Save nothing." And that advice has always seemed to be right on, so I'm going to be doing a song by one of the biggest divas of all time. It's a big number and definitely a challenge, but I'm going to leave everything on that stage.

Ryan Cooper

Hometown: Schaumburg

Occupation: Kohl's Department Store Freight Team Member

Talent: Vocal presence/guitar

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was excited and anxious to perform again.

Competition plans: Follow up on the judges' feedback to help give my performance more context.

Gabriela Francesca

Hometown: Palatine

Occupation: Student at Berklee College of Music in Boston

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was on the road home from work and heard my phone ring. When I got into my driveway, I listened to the message, bolted inside and gave both of my parents a big hug!

Competition plans: I have some very vocally challenging songs in my repertoire that I'm ready to whip out! I'm ready to really wow the audience with my vocals, as well as of course expressing my own personal style on stage. Dressing for performances is one of my favorite parts of my life as an artist. I also hope to emotionally connect to the audience with my next selection.

Mary Hilbrink

Hometown: Fox River Grove

Occupation: Student

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was ecstatic! My family, friends and I were screaming at the top our lungs.

Competition plans: I might dance a little more and try a different style of song.

Andrew Johnston

Hometown: Bourbonnais

Occupation: Student

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was at work at my area YMCA Summer Day Camp when the email popped up on my phone. The excitement was overwhelming. I was screaming and jumping for joy! The campers didn't quite get it and a few asked if I was OK, but needless to say I was on cloud nine!

Competition plans: I don't want to be a one-trick pony. Expect the unexpected is sort of my motto going into the next round. At this point, it's go big or go home. I'm going to give it all I've got, which I strive to do at all my performances.

Mark Lyons

Hometown: Palatine

Occupation: Garden coach and home cheese maker

Talent: Combining a cornucopia of songs and stories with an offbeat sense of comedy. Call me the Humorous Human Jukebox!

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was so excited, I turned cartwheels! Well, no, not really; I can't even turn a good somersault! But I immediately hit the phone, the computer, and anything else I could think of to spread the good news to friends and family. Not quite as exciting as turning cartwheels, but a whole lot more practical -- and less dangerous!

Competition plans: I'm reviewing all of the humorous songs in my repertoire, trying to find the one I think is going to knock the audience and the judges out of their chairs! I'm also rereading the judges' critiques to make sure I incorporate them as I refine my act.

Riley Mangan

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Occupation: Undergraduate student majoring in biology at Davidson College. Summer research intern at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Talent: Jazz piano

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was honored to be selected as a part of an obviously talented group and I'm excited for the performance to come.

Competition plans: This upcoming performance will feature a jazz arrangement of a rock song familiar to many, but very far from traditional jazz literature.

No Immunity

Band members: Siblings Matt Kania, Meggie Kania, Molly McDermott and Andy Meyers

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Occupations: Students. Matt attends Northwestern University; Meggie attends St. Louis University; Andy attends Loyola University; and Molly attends South Middle School

Talent: Band

Reaction to making it through to the next round: We were excited when we received a text since we were all in different locations when the Metropolis contacted us.

Competition plans: Taking the judges' advice and trying a different genre of music.

San Sandberg

Hometown: Geneva

Occupation: Student

Talent: Singing

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was at Graham's Ice Cream with my friend, Katie, when my Mom texted me, "Congratulations! You moved on to the next round." I was super excited and so was Katie.

Competition plans: Come to the show and find out.

Sean and Karen (Slavin)

Hometown: Woodstock

Occupations: Musicians

Talent: Singing/songwriting

Reaction to making it through to the next round: When we found out that we made it to the next round, we were excited to realize that other people liked our sound, besides us. It can be difficult to be objective of one's abilities.

Competition plans: For the next show, we will be doing a song that is more difficult to execute, and a bit more serious as well. Last time we did Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

Dave Siemiaszko

Hometown: Wheeling

Occupation: Aspiring musician

Talent: Composing music using loop pedals

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was thrilled! I went right out and bought a new loop pedal!

Competition plans: I'll incorporate more instruments.

Tiffany Streng

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Occupation: Unemployed. Hire me? please.

Talent: Stand-up comedy

Reaction to making it through to the next round: Remember in "The Breakfast Club" -- at the end when Judd Nelson walks off in the distance and first pumps in air -- kinda like that. Then I got really excited because I would be able to see some more awesome performances from crazy talented people. Like there are kids in this competition that are so talented, I don't even think I could tie my shoes at their age. I probably couldn't. I'm not going to lie ... I just probably couldn't.

Competition plans: I don't know if I have a plan on "upping" my performance in any way. I just talk about what I think is funny, in a way I find funny. Changing that concept or trying to adhere to a certain style or expectation would, I think, in turn make my performance come off staged and/or insincere. I hope to just surrender to the material and commit 100 percent and if I'm having fun, the audience will too. Hopefully. Man, I hope they have fun.

Viper Fever

Featuring: Tim Shemroske of Bartlett, Mark Glatt of Riverwoods and Dan Shemroske of Bartlett

Talent: Band

Reaction to making it through to the next round: Our songs are creepy and weird, like us, so we didn't think we'd make it through.

Competition plans: We have a national tour booked through the south and out east August through September. We like the road and plan on staying on it for a while.

Joey White

Hometown: Huntley

Occupation: Student

Talent: Pianist

Reaction to making it through to the next round: I was very happy to still be in the competition, and even more excited to be able to perform again.

Competition plans: The goal of my act is to do more than play piano, and I want to become even more visually entertaining for the next performance.


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