Who will win Suburban Chicago's Got Talent?
Will it be a hip-hop performer living in Hoffman Estates, or perhaps a young Chicago Ridge violinist who is adept with both classical and mariachi music?
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent Top 10Location: Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg,
(847) 895-3600 or prairiecenter.org or dailyherald.com/events
Showtime: 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent Finale at Taste of Arlington Heights
Location: Downtown Arlington Heights at the intersection of Vail Avenue and Campbell Street
Showtime: 3:30 p.m.
Host: Rob Pileckis, Production Supervisor at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg
• Beth Waller, Cultural Arts Supervisor for the Schaumburg Park District
• John Flamini, Chairman of the Cultural Commission, Village of Schaumburg
• Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald Staff Writer
• Neil Scheufler, acting executive director of the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights
Will SCGT be won by one of three guys who sing and play guitar? Or by one of the four remaining vocalists, whose talents cross the board from country to R&B, opera to pop? Or might top honors go to the dance crew that specializes in robotics and gymnastic moves?
These are the 10 finalists -- from a field of nearly 100 who auditioned back in June -- for the summer-long talent competition co-sponsored by the Daily Herald, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce and the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg.
At stake are two top prizes. New for 2014 is the "STARter Kit" grand prize, which features a performance at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles as an opening act for a major headliner, a professional concert-style photo shoot, a promotional video drawn from live competition footage and professional talent mentoring.
There's also the Fan Favorite prize, which is a Funjet Vacation for two. The winner of this prize is determined by the total number of online votes cast throughout the competition at dailyherald.com/entertainment/talent.
Both winners will be announced on Saturday, Aug. 9, after outdoor performances at 3:30 p.m. at the Taste of Arlington Heights.
For now, though, the finalists are gearing up to win over the judges at the Top 10 show at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at the Prairie Center for the Arts.
Daily Herald staff writer Barbara Vitello has been a SCGT judge for three years running, and she can see how contestants can bolster or bumble their positions at this all-important performance.
"Performers can certainly improve their chances by surprising us," Vitello said. "At the same time, they don't want to wander too far from their strengths."
At this point, it's anyone's guess who will take the top prize.
TOP 10 FINALISTS
Hometown: Mount Prospect
Challenges in my life: I've recently decided to drop out of college and it's awfully scary to think about sometimes. But I'm now pushing to write great music and gig like crazy, and that's very challenging. I'm looking to make a lifelong dream come true and at the same time leave a lasting impression on the music industry and the world. And by no means am I expecting anything to come easy and I love that.
Occupation: Alexian Bros. central distribution
Talent: Vocalist and guitarist
Challenges in my life: Gaining perspective on various styles of music in the area. Meeting people with extensive knowledge and taking their passion public. Learning to appreciate the value in experiencing performances given by others. Sharing those values.
DeMuziq Artis (DeMarcus Artis)
Hometown: Oak Park
Occupation: Customer specialist at Avant Credit
Challenges in life: My single mother raised both me and my brother on her own. She made sure we were involved inasmuch as we could and taught us never to give up on anything. Living the majority of our lives without our father, my brother and I were both Eagle Scouts.
Jaooo (Jordan Madonia)
Hometown: Hoffman Estates
Occupation: Factory work
Talent: Hip-hop singer/writer
Challenges in my life: Father of a child at a young age. My criminal history. Financial stability. Overall I'd say we all face challenges and obstacles every day. I have just learned to view them as opportunities to grow and learn.
Mike L (Michael Lueck)
Hometown: Des Plaines
Occupation: Carpet cleaner
Talent: Multigenre singer
Challenges in my life: At first when my father passed away, I lost all passion to do anything. I flunked eighth grade, and due to my poor academic action and my attitude, I got sent to military school in Wisconsin. Being there, I met some great people. One of whom is currently a world championship competing bagpiper. He followed his passion and he is on top and that is what I plan to do as well.
Hometowns: Sean Adams of Hanover Park, Vernon Davis of Streamwood and Armond Mayberry of Hanover Park
Talent: Dance troupe
Challenges in our lives: Probably learning choreography. We always just freestyle so we had to take a bigger step which was choreography. It took us a very long time, but we were so determined to do this. All I can say is we are hard workers.
Hometown: Chicago Ridge
Challenges in my life: Sometimes I have to practice for several concerts at one time. I also have to eat healthily so that I have energy for all of the concerts and practices.
Rachel (Rachel McPheeters)
Challenges in my life: I was pulled out of high school due to migraine headaches. This is a time when I found myself through my singing. I enjoyed little contests here and there, and have enjoyed singing since then. I have evolved over the years, finding my own style and stage presence. Never believing I'd find myself back at high school, I'm able to connect with my students and counsel and care for them in ways that I can identify with -- the struggles of growing up, especially with the high school years. I even sing for them from time to time. I love my job.
Talent: Classical singer
Challenges in my life: It was determined that I was an audio learner. I now put everything to music and get straight As. My peers often think that I am weird because I sing and like opera -- they say I am possessed by a 50-year-old person. Most 11 year olds just like pop, but my voice teachers assure me as I get older people will appreciate my talent.
Hometown: Mount Prospect
Occupation: Mother and receptionist for Salon Cienna in Palatine
Challenges in my life: I came to Chicago to pursue my music career at 17! So yes, I have overcome many obstacles, challenges and life's lessons to be here today. My dream was put on hold for more than 20 years until now.