Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is full of changes in its seventh year.
The summer talent competition shifts to different venues, features new celebrity judges and offers expanded prize packages. And anyone can sign up to audition, starting Friday, May 18.
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent 2018Main location: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 962-7000 or arcadalive.com or events.dailyherald.com
Private auditions: Monday through Wednesday, June 18-20
Top 20 show: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 8
Top 15 show: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 29
Top 10 show and finale: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at Little Italy Fest-West at Centennial Park, Lake Street at Rohlwing Road, Addison
"This year, we are partnering with Ron Onesti, the veteran entrepreneur and promoter, and we expect the event to be bigger than ever," said Eileen Brown, assistant vice president and director of strategic marketing and innovation for the Daily Herald. "Ron has always been a mentor to our winners and we are excited to see how he can help boost the careers of some of our suburban contestants."
Ron Onesti is CEO and president of Onesti Entertainment and the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, which will play host to three major rounds of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. One hundred preliminary and private audition spots are available Monday through Wednesday, June 18-20. Then the 900-seat venue will see the top 20 and 15 finalists publicly perform respectively at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 8, and 7 p.m. Sunday, July 29.
The top 10 finale performance, when the competition winners are announced, is also at a new venue. Contestants will perform to crowds of up to 4,000 at the Little Italy Fest-West in Addison at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4.
Tickets to the shows will be free this year.
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at the Arcada Theatre is co-sponsored by the Daily Herald, Onesti Entertainment, Amita Health, Zeigler Auto Group, Salon Lorrene and the Village of Schaumburg.
Audition registrations begin on Friday, May 18. A full list of contest rules and policies can be found at events.dailyherald.com/scgt-audition.
Singers and bands have traditionally dominated Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. But the contest is open to all kinds of family-friendly acts including magicians and even yo-yo tricksters.
"The Daily Herald loves being able to showcase local entertainers -- singers, dancers, comedians, you name it," Brown said. "It is always amazing to see the talent that is out there just waiting to be discovered."
For Onesti, a contestant needs more than just "raw talent." In our digital age when so many entertainers become famous via online videos, Onesti is on the lookout for performers who can draw crowds and be at ease connecting with live audiences.
"One of the reasons I do what I do is to foster the legacy of great entertainers who have performed at the Arcada," Onesti said. "What better way to do that than to initiate a kind of farm system, like baseball, where you support budding artists in the best way that you can?"
As a competition, Suburban Chicago's Got Talent provides entertainers a chance to hone their stagecraft. But there's also valuable feedback with suggestions for improvement from a panel of judges, which is starrier for 2018.
Jim Peterik, lead singer of The Ides of March, Carl Giammarese, lead singer of The Buckinghams, and jazz vocalist Diva Montell are new Suburban Chicago's Got Talent judges.
"It's exciting for me because they bring a professional perspective," Onesti said. "These are actual performers that will see these contestants in the light of being working entertainers."
Also on the panel are veteran competition judges Onesti and Barbara Vitello, a Daily Herald theater critic and reporter. They both share a long history with the competition.
As in the past, Suburban Chicago's Got Talent will hand out two major prizes.
The grand prize has grown to include a Development Package (custom video, website development, mentor and photo session), a trip for two to either Nashville or Cleveland, a headline concert and an opening act slot for a national act at the Arcada Theatre, plus an opening act slot at Schaumburg's Septemberfest on Saturday, Sept. 1.
There is also the Fan Favorite prize that is decided by online voters at dailyherald.com/entertainment/talent following the top 20 and top 15 rounds. That prize is still being finalized.
"We try to showcase the great talent that Chicago has, and being a part of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent has been a great experience," Onesti said. "I encourage as many acts as possible to audition. Anybody can win this."
Suburban Chicago's Got Talent 2018 Rules & Regulations
• Audition spaces are limited. All participants will be reviewed and we will notify the 100 entries who will be invited to the private auditions. Due to the limited number of audition times, we will not be able to invite every performer/group that registers.
• Participants must register to audition by the visiting Daily Herald registration page. Registrations open Friday, May 18.
• Groups or individuals should read the rules and register to audition at events.dailyherald.com/scgt-audition. Participants must read and sign the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent policies and waiver and bring a signed copy to their audition.
• General auditions are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, June 18-20, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles.
• Participants must be available to perform at all of the following:
Top 20 show: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 8, at the Arcada Theatre
Top 15 show: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 29, at the Arcada Theatre
Top 10 show/winner announced: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at Little Italy Fest-West, Centennial Park, Addison
Winner performs at an outdoor concert taking place at Septemberfest in Schaumburg at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1.
For the audition
• Participants must prepare one 1-2 minute routine for the audition. Different requirements apply for bands -- see below.
• Limited slots are reserved for bands to audition, so early registration by bands is encouraged to guarantee an audition slot. Each band will have 10 minutes to load in, 2-3 minutes to perform and 10 minutes to load out. Provided equipment will include three monitors, six inputs and three vocal mics. We will have two crew members available to assist you with load in and load out. Additional details will be provided when your audition time is assigned.
• Singers can sing a cappella, with recorded music or with live instruments only. A keyboard will be provided. Participants must supply own accompanist if needed. A CD player and a connection for an MP3 player will be available. Performer is responsible for playing the music.
• Basic tech support such as extension cords will be provided. If you have other technical needs, please ask when your audition time is assigned.
• Acts MAY NOT include fire, sharp objects, weapons, explosives (pyrotechnics), fogger, hazers, nudity or animals.
• Acts MAY NOT contain material that is sexually explicit, obscene, pornographic, violent (e.g., relating to murder, the sale of weapons, cruelty, abuse, etc.), discriminatory (based on race, sex, religion, natural origin, physical disability, sexual orientation or age), illegal (e.g. underage drinking, substance abuse, etc.), offensive, threatening, profane or harassing, each as determined by Suburban Chicago Got Talent in its sole discretion.
• Participants under age 18 must be accompanied to their audition and to any show (if applicable) with a parent or legal guardian.
• All participants must perform sober and illegal drug-free.
• All acts must be family-friendly as shows will be open to all ages.
• Only amateur acts will be seen. Acts with professional representation will not be eligible.
• Acts will be judged by a panel of judges selected by SCGT. All decisions of the judges are final. Acts will be scored on a 100 percent scale based on the following three criteria: Entertainment Value & Appeal (40 percent), Creativity (30 percent) and Ability (30 percent).
• Judges will select the 20 acts with the highest score to perform at the preliminary round shows. SCGT reserves the right to pick fewer than 20 acts, or extend the auditions in its sole discretion if it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified entries. If there is a tie in number of votes, then the judges shall decide the top 20 acts based on the scoring criteria. The same process will repeat to determine a Top 15 and Top 10.
• The overall winner will be decided by combining judges' votes.
• Online voting will also determine a Fan Favorite, during the Top 20 and Top 15 rounds. The top vote-getter will automatically advance to the next round.
• All participants must be available to perform at the performance dates listed above. Eligible participants will be notified of their call times closer to the show date.
• 2018 SCGT Grand Prize: Development Package: Custom video, website development, mentor session, photo session
Trip for two to Nashville or Cleveland (includes admission to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). Includes agency meetings, airfare, hotel and $200 cash.
Headline a concert at the Arcada, opening slot for national act at the Arcada, opening slot performance at Schaumburg's Septemberfest at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1
• The Fan Favorite winner will receive a prize to be determined. The winner of prizes will be responsible for all applicable taxes.
Participants agree that SCGT may use any image, photograph, voice or likeness in its promotional materials and publicity efforts without additional compensation. Participants understand that these photographs, images, video or audio may be retouched or enhanced and may further be used in publications, print ads, electronic media (e.g., video, CD-ROM, internet/WWW), or other media now known or hereafter created, anywhere in the world.) Participants further understand that by participating in the photography or filming, they release SCGT and its representatives, licensees, employees, photographers and their designees from any and all liability for any violation of any privacy or proprietary rights.
If you are invited to audition, you will receive a copy of this waiver and you will be required to submit a signed copy at the time of your audition.