Bellwood, Melrose Park Musicians Named ‘Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent’ Finalists

Monk 9, left (which includes Bellwood resident Joe Kernan), and Jesse Avila, from Melrose Park, were named among 20 finalists for this year’s “Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent,” competition. | Right photo: Facebook || Left: Daily Herald.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free 

Two aspiring musicians in Proviso Township were named among 20 finalists in the “Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent” competition, co-sponsored by the Daily Herald newspaper, Onesti Entertainment and several other organizations.

Jesse Avila, (also Jesse Leon), a singer from Melrose Park, and Joe Kernan — a Bellwood musician who performs in the two-person band Monk 9, which also features his partner Tom Repetny of Oak Lawn — were the two area talents to land finalist spots.

They’ll perform on Sunday, June 26, 6 p.m., at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg. Two more Top 15 and Top 10 rounds will perform at the same facility on July 17 and July 31, respectively. The winner of the competition will be announced at the Taste of Arlington Heights on Aug. 6.

According to the Daily Herald, the competition format includes videos of the finalists’ competition performance, which will be posted at for people to see and vote on. Contestants with the most online votes after each round will advance to the next one. The act with the most total online votes will win the Fan Favorite prize.

“The main prize is the ‘STARter Kit,’ which includes the chance to open for a national headline act at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, career mentoring by Onesti Entertainment and professional video and still photo shoots of a live performance and production,” according to the Daily  Herald. “The STARter Kit is valued at about $5,000.”

Avila, who was a Top 20 finalist in the 2015 Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent competition, has also had success in other talent competitions. In 2010, he was the first winner of the Proviso Idol competition.

Monk 9, a self-described space rock act, has been featured on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” TV competition, including a variety of syndicated TV and radio shows, according to the group’s website. VFP

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