Twenty finalists have been chosen to compete in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent, a summer-long talent competition with performers vying for prizes including a vacation trip for two, a slot as an opening act for a major headliner and professional talent mentoring.
The Top 20 were drawn from nearly 100 contestants who auditioned last week at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg, which is a co-sponsor of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent alongside the Daily Herald and the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.
Two contestants among the Top 20 are returning from previous seasons of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent, in which the ranks of finalists are winnowed down through performances before live audiences and a panel of judges. The first public performance is set for Sunday, June 22, at the Prairie Center.
This year's 20 finalists, in alphabetical order by stage name, are:
• James Agena, a singer from Bloomingdale
• Dennis Caravello, a singer-songwriter from Mount Prospect
• Ryan Cooper, a vocalist and guitar player from Schaumburg (and a Top 10 Suburban Chicago's Got Talent finalist from 2013)
• DeMuziq Artis (DeMarcus Artis), a singer from Oak Park
• Samantha Erne, a singer from Elk Grove Village
• Agne G (Ange Giedraityte), a classical singer from Downers Grove (also a Top 10 finalist from 2012)
• Sheridan Hurtig, a singer from Mundelein
• Jaooo (Jordan Madonia), a hip-hop artist from Hoffman Estates
• Mike L (Michael Lueck), a singer from Des Plaines
• Mysterious Krew, a dance troupe led by Armond Mayberry from Hanover Park
• Sydney Litka, a singer from Wauconda
• Duebwa Loving (George Lee), a singer from Springfield
• Bryana Martinez, a singer from Chicago Ridge
• Rachel (McPheeters), a singer from DeKalb
• Carly Meyer, a classical singer from Northbrook
• Farah Morales, a singer from Mount Prospect
• Alyssa Peterson, a singer from Hoffman Estates
• Marirose Rueth (Rose Rueth), a singer from Glen Ellyn
• Hope Rose (Hope Jirsa), a country singer from Forest Park
• San Sandberg, a singer from Geneva
The first place prize is new for 2014: A "STARter Kit" package that includes a performance as an opening act for a major headliner at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, a professional concert-style photo shoot, a promotional video drawn from competition footage and professional talent mentoring.
A Fan Favorite prize, decided by public voting online at dailyherald.com, is a FunJet Vacation for two.
The Top 20 finalists will perform before the judges and an audience at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22, at the Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg.
Then, the group will be narrowed to the Top 15 finalists, who will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Prairie Center. The Top 10 finalists will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at the same venue. For tickets to the Schaumburg performances, call (847) 895-3600 or visit prairiecenter.org.
The winner will be announced at a free finale performance of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Taste of Arlington Heights.
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent finalists also are set to perform at Septemberfest in Schaumburg at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.