Suburban Chicago's Got Talent returns -- and now's the time to enter

  • Seasalt performs during the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles last year. The band won the summerlong contest.

    Seasalt performs during the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles last year. The band won the summerlong contest. Daily Herald file photo

Posted5/10/2019 6:00 AM

Musicians have reigned supreme, winning the past seven years of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. So could another kind of family-friendly act -- a dance troupe, a comedian or even a yo-yo master -- take the top prize for the eighth year of this annual summer talent competition?

"Musicians and bands do tend to dominate, but it's a great opportunity for other kinds of acts to get notice, too." said Eileen Brown, vice president of strategic marketing and innovation for the Daily Herald.


Online registration is now open to secure one of 100 audition spots for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent at The deadline is Saturday, May 25.

Auditions and the top 20 and 15 rounds return again to the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. The Top 10 finale shifts to the Little Italy Fest-West in Addison on Saturday, July 27.

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is co-sponsored again by the Daily Herald, Onesti Entertainment, Amita Health, Zeigler Auto Group and Salon Lorrene. And as in other seasons, it's likely that past finalists from previous years will return to compete.

"One of my favorite things is that performers come back multiple years and you can see them grow and develop," Brown said. "We have amazing judges who offer them great career advice. The ones that take that advice really up their game and become so much better at their craft."

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The top prize is a development package to help artists with promotion and publicity. Included is a custom video, website development, mentor and photo sessions.

There's also the choice of a trip for two to Nashville to meet with music agencies or a trip to Cleveland to visit the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame (includes admission). Airfare, hotel and $200 cash are included with either trip.

The top prize also features a headline concert at the Arcada and opening slot for a national act.

"This competition has been gaining momentum," said Ron Onesti, CEO and president of Onesti Entertainment and the Arcada Theatre. "The excitement that has been relayed to me from solo acts to bands has been crazier than ever."

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent places a premium on acts that can wow crowds at a 900-seat theater and an outdoor festival, but the competition has an online component as well.


The Fan Favorite prize is determined by online voters at following the top 20 and 15 rounds. The contestant with the most votes is automatically advanced to the next round, while the act with the most cumulative votes wins the overall Fan Favorite title (the prize is still being finalized). It's also possible for the same act to win both prizes.

"It's hard to believe, but Suburban Chicago's Got Talent gets better every year," Brown said. "The level of talent is awe-inspiring."

• • •

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent 2019

Main location: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 962-7000 or or

Private auditions: 11 to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2; 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4 and 5

Top 20 show: 6 p.m. Sunday, June 30

Top 15 show: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 14

Top 10 show and finale: 1 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Little Italy Fest-West at Centennial Park, Lake Street at Rohlwing Road, Addison

Admission: Free

• • •

Becky Sargeant of Woodstock performs with Seasalt during the finale of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent last year. The band won the summer talent competition.
  Becky Sargeant of Woodstock performs with Seasalt during the finale of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent last year. The band won the summer talent competition. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2018
2019 Rules & Regulations


• Participants must register to audition by visiting the Daily Herald registration page. Registrations open Friday, May 10, 2019.

• Audition spaces are limited. All participants will be reviewed and we will notify those 100 entries that 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 read and sign the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent policies and waiver and bring a signed copy to their audition.

• General auditions are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2, and 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4 and 5, 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 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the Arcada Theatre

Top 15 show: 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at the Arcada Theatre

Top 10 show/winner announced: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Little Italy Fest-West, Centennial Park, Addison

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, 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 which 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 the 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.


• 2019 SCGT Grand Prize: Development Package: Custom Video, website development, mentor session and photo session.

Trip to Nashville for two with agency meetings OR Cleveland to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame (includes admission). Both include airfare, hotel and $200 cash.

Headline concert at the Arcada and opening slot for national act at Arcada.

• The Fan Favorite winner will receive a prize to be determined. The winner of this prize will be responsible for all applicable taxes.

The Grand Prize Package is listed as is and will not be altered after it is awarded.

Photo/Video Release*

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.

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