The Top 20 acts take the stage for the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent show Sunday, June 30, at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Meet the Top 20 for the 2019 Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent

Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent is back for its eighth season, and it’s time for the Top 20 contestants to shine.

There are rock bands, singer-songwriters, vocalists and even a comedian/impressionist in the mix. Some are repeat contenders from past seasons of Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent.

Vocalist Charles Pansino of St. Charles competed in 2017, while singer-songwriters Shannon Nugent of Elmhurst and Joey Wilbur of St. Charles are back for another round after being finalists in 2018.

Other past contestants are returning with reinforcements, including soprano Agne G. of Downers Grove, who is now part of the vocal duo Agne & Marty. Singer-songwriter Michael McInerney of La Grange was a soloist last year, but now he’s in the band The Vaughan Building with Nathan Zaworski and Christian Dvorak.

The Top 20 contestants broke through an initial audition pool of more than 60 contestants, but now they have to impress a panel of judges and a live crowd at a free performance Sunday, June 30, at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Those who do will move on to the Top 15 round on Sunday, July 14, at the same venue, while the Top 10 finale — where the winners are announced — is at the Little Italy Fest-West in Addison Saturday, July 27.

At stake is a grand prize that includes a development package with website development, a custom video, mentor and photo sessions. The winner also gets to headline a concert and wins an opening slot for a national act at the Arcada Theatre. And then there’s the choice of a trip for two to either Nashville to meet with music agencies or Cleveland to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (airfare, hotel and $200 cash are included with either trip).

As in past seasons, there’s an online Fan Favorite component to the competition. Videos of each act following the Top 20 and Top 15 performances will be posted at, where fans can vote for their favorite. The act with the most votes is guaranteed a spot in the next competition round, while the act with the most cumulative online votes wins the to-be-determined Fan Favorite prize.

Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent for 2019 is co-sponsored by the Daily Herald, Onesti Entertainment, Amita Health, Zeigler Auto Group and Salon Lorrene.

Here are the 20 contestants and their picks for their own favorite artists:

Agne & Marty of Downers Grove – Courtesy of the artists

Agne & Marty

Hometown: Downers Grove

Talent: singers

Favorite artists: Australian countertenor David Hansen (for Marty). Russian soprano Aida Garifullina (for Agne).

Ballroom Boxer – Courtesy of Neal Zeleznak

Ballroom Boxer

Hometown: Chicago

Talent: rock band

Favorite artists: The Bronx/Mariachi El Bronx, Butch Walker, Billy Joel, GNR, Weezer, Alkaline Trio and Our Lady Peace.

Grace Cornelius – Courtesy of the artist

Grace Cornelius

Hometown: Warrenville

Talent: singer

Favorite artist: This changes on a daily basis, but today it’s Ingrid Andress.

Diana – Courtesy of the artist


Hometown: DeKalb

Talent: singer

Favorite artists: Whitney Houston, Etta James and Prince.

Miguel Rockstar Garza – Courtesy of the artist

Miguel Rockstar Garza

Hometown: Chicago

Talent: singer-songwriter

Favorite artist: John Mayer for his amazing songs and ability. He made me get off heavy metal music and start singing acoustic.

Bob Jay – Courtesy of the artist

Bob Jay

Hometown: Algonquin

Talent: comedian/impressionist

Favorite artists: Rich Little, George Carlin and Richard Pryor

The Majors – Courtesy of the artists

The Majors

Hometown: Bartlett

Talent: band

Favorite artist: Pink

Brian Maras – Courtesy of the artist

Brian Maras

Hometown: Elburn

Talent: singer/guitarist/whistler

Favorite artist: Led Zeppelin

Columbus Montgomery – Courtesy of the artist

Columbus Montgomery

Hometown: Bartlett

Talent: R&B singer

Favorite artist: Luther Vandross

Kelly Murphy – Daily Herald file photo, 2018

Kelly Murphy

Hometown: Barrington

Talent: singer

Favorite artist: Freddie Mercury

McCrae – Courtesy of the artists


Hometown: Sterling

Talent: singer-songwriter/guitarist

Favorite artist: John Mayer

Northcutt – Courtesy of the artist


Hometown: Glendale Heights

Talent: singer-songwriter

Favorite artist: Jake Bugg

Shannon Nugent – Daily Herald file photo, 2018

Shannon Nugent

Hometown: Elmhurst

Talent: singer-songwriter/pianist

Favorite artist: Fiona Apple — she’s a phenomenal lyricist and so uniquely her. Her songs are so full of raw emotion, and she pushes boundaries with her style. I was lucky to see her live, and I love the way that she gets so into the emotion of the song. It feels very authentic when she performs rather than choreographed or trying to fit a particular image.

Isabel Osorio – Courtesy of the artist

Isabel Osorio

Hometown: St. Charles

Talent: pop singer-songwriter

Favorite artist: Julien Baker

Palaya – Courtesy of the artists


Hometown: West Chicago

Talent: vocal duo

Favorite artists: Frank Sinatra, Bruno Major and Us the Duo.

Charles Pansino – Courtesy of the artist

Charles Pansino

Hometown: St. Charles

Talent: singer-songwriter/guitarist

Favorite artist: Frank Sinatra — for his power/projection, his flawless phrasing, his swag and style, his depth of lyrics and sentiment and the fact that my family (Italian) used to play him constantly. There are so many reasons this man has inspired me and continues to do so.

The Recall – Courtesy of the artists

The Recall

Hometown: Wheaton

Talent: rock band

Favorite artist: Black Sabbath, The Raconteurs (Jack White) and similar hard rock artists.

Karen Shook – Courtesy of the artist

Karen Shook

Hometown: Woodstock

Talent: singer

Favorite artists: Living: Brandi Carlile. Dead: Janis Joplin

The Vaughan Building – Courtesy of the artists

The Vaughan Building

Hometown: La Grange

Talent: blues rock band

Favorite artist: There are many, but we would all agree on The Rolling Stones.

Joey Wilbur – Courtesy of the artist

Joey Wilbur

Hometown: St. Charles

Talent: singer-songwriter/guitarist

Favorite artist: Ed Sheeran

• • •

Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent 2019

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

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. Register in advance at to be entered into a drawing that will take place at intermission.

• • •

Meet the judges for the Top 20 show

Scott May: The keyboardist in the legendary band The Ides of March, a movie composer (the original 1992 version of “Meet The Parents”) and also the artist liaison/senior product specialist for Hammond Organ Company.

Ronnie Platt: A classic rock singer from Lombard who became lead singer and second keyboardist for the band Kansas in 2014.

Ron Onesti: President and CEO of Onesti Entertainment Corporation, which runs the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and outdoor concerts and festivals throughout the area.

Barbara Vitello: A Lisagor Award-winning reporter, the Daily Herald’s principal theater critic and legal affairs writer.

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