10 finalists make the cut in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent

Updated 7/16/2012 1:32 PM
  • Woody James

    Woody James

  • AudioBakery


  • Faith & Whiskey

    Faith & Whiskey

  • iLLest Vocals

    iLLest Vocals

  • AJ Lubecker

    AJ Lubecker

  • Shane Lubecker

    Shane Lubecker

  • Robert Osiol

    Robert Osiol

  • Sophmore 64

    Sophmore 64

  • Agne G

    Agne G

  • Kelsey Martin

    Kelsey Martin

Dueling teenage brothers from Algonquin -- one a comedian, the other a yo-yo artist. A Lindenhurst band that makes electronic music with Nintendo Game Boys. A 10-year-old singer from Downers Grove.

They're among the 10 finalists for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent -- a list that also includes three more very different music groups, a singer-guitarist, an 18-year-old solo singer and a pianist.

The 10 survived by virtue of winning over the judges, the fans, or both after a sold-out public competition held a week ago at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

Now, they'll have to turn up the heat for another round of the competition, an ongoing summer talent contest which is co-sponsored by the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Schaumburg-based law firm Gardi & Haught Ltd., Wintrust Community Banks, College Textbooks and the Daily Herald.

The next round will be crucial. The top 10 contestants now need to come up with a new twist or new material for their next performances at 7 p.m. next Sunday, July 22, at the Metropolis. Tickets are available at metropolisarts.com.

"Here, I think showmanship will play a huge role," said Metropolis Performing Arts Centre executive director and contest judge Charlie Beck. Other judges are Metropolis education director Michelle Shaver, Metropolis music director Micky York and several rotating guest judges.

Making the cut, and now competing for the top five, are:

• Singer Agne G (Agne Giedrityte), 10, of Downers Grove.

• The band AudioBakery featuring members Bradley Bacci, 20, of Prairie View, Zak Sprenger, 20, of Buffalo Grove, Jon "Fluky" Nadel, 20, of Chicago, and Brett Schomen, 21, of Iowa City, Iowa.

• The duo Faith and Whiskey featuring singer Camille Eiseman, 41, and guitarist/singer Terry Tank, 50, both of Crystal Lake.

• The singing/beat boxing/dancing iLLest Vocals featuring Shawn Kurian, 25, of Wheeling and Sanu John, 25, of Skokie.

• Comedian AJ Lubecker, 18, of Algonquin.

• His brother, yo-yo artist Shane Lubecker, 16, of Algonquin.

• Singer Kelsey Martin, 18, of Prospect Heights.

• Pianist Robert Osiol, 19, of Mount Prospect.

• The band Sophmore 64 featuring band members Jake Basala, 17, and Calvin Hughes, 17, both from Lindenhurst, making music with a Commodore 64 and Nintendo Game Boys.

• Singer/guitarist James Lowell Woodrasaka, aka "Woody James," 20, of Millington.

Survival to the next round wowed Woodrasaka, who said things changed for him when his mom gave him a guitar and he learned how to play.

"I just took off with it," he said, admitting he was bullied and a bit of a loner early in high school. "I got really good and I became a hit at school my senior year."

Once selected, the Final Five contestants will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, and again at the Taste of Arlington Heights on Saturday, Aug. 11, when the winner and a Fan Favorite chosen by Daily Herald readers will be announced.

The Fan Favorite winner will receive a Funjet Vacation for two, while the ultimate winner of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent will win a chance to audition for next season of NBC-TV's "America's Got Talent."

"I thought it was wonderful that people had the opportunity to take a look at all these acts and how it gave all of these performers a wider exposure," Beck said. "I just want to commend everybody in the top 20 and those who didn't make it through should not necessarily feel bad about that fact."

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