Suburban talent contest winner to be revealed Saturday

Updated 8/9/2012 1:31 PM
  • iLLest Vocals

      iLLest Vocals Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Robert Osiol

      Robert Osiol Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Faith and Whisky

      Faith and Whisky Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Shane Lubecker

      Shane Lubecker Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Woody James

      Woody James Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

After weeks of honing their skills through initial auditions and successive rounds of competition, the final five in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent will soon find out if they are the ultimate winner, the online Fan Favorite -- or both.

All will be revealed at the Taste of Arlington Heights starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. That's when the final five finalists will perform for an open-air crowd before the winners are announced.

"It goes without saying that all five of the finalists are extremely talented," said Charlie Beck, executive director of the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights and a competition judge. "Choosing who would fit and who didn't make it was a little more challenging for this final selection to go from the final five to the winner."

To recap, the final five are: country duo Faith and Whisky (Camille Eiseman and Terry Tank of Crystal Lake), beat-boxing vocal duo iLLest Vocals (Sanu John of Skokie and Shawn Kurian of Wheeling), country singer/songwriter Woody James (James Lowell Woodraska of Millington), yo-yo artist Shane Lubecker of Algonquin and jazz pianist Robert Osiol of Mount Prospect.

These acts are all vying for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent's top prize, which is a trip to audition for NBC-TV's "America's Got Talent." There's also the Fan Favorite prize, cumulatively decided from online voting at That winner gets a Funjet vacation for two.

According to M. Eileen Brown, assistant vice president/director of innovation and audience development for the Daily Herald, a total of 234,984 votes were cast online for the top 20 and top 10 rounds of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

"It's been amazing to watch these performers develop over the course of the competition," Brown said. "Their acts have improved over time by following the judges' comments."

Those ultimate arbiters for the top prize are judges Beck, education director Michelle Shaver and music director Micky York of the Metropolis. Barbara Vitello, who reviews theater for the Daily Herald, was a guest judge for the final two rounds of competition.

"From the very beginning, almost 200 people showed up (to audition)," said Beck.

He said he is pleased that the Metropolis was able to showcase so many talented performers from Chicago's suburbs by teaming with a number of community and commercial partners for the competition. Along with the Metropolis, the official co-sponsors of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent are Wintrust Community Banks, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, College Textbooks, Schaumburg-based law firm Gardi & Haught LTD and the Daily Herald.

"People will not want to miss the big reveal at the end of the show," said Beck, who hopes to work with some of the finalists at the Metropolis in the future. "A wealth of talent was discovered."

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