Karaoke. Makes. Me. Crazy.
And yet, somehow, I ended up sitting through a total of 5 1/2 hours of it at the Bog. (It’s a student bar/hangout center with a stage, some ping pong and billiards tables, and both Wii & real bowling. Supposedly called the Bog because it used to be a swamp. Go figure.)
Why? I've started writing for TechNews, and they needed someone to cover it last week. This may be a mistake, considering how my free time’s been pretty booked with reading, working, and Doctor Who, but it’s also kind of fun. And it pays. Somehow my first article––on the first 3 hours of the karaoke competition, “IIT Idol” Round I––made it onto the first page. That was pretty nifty.
But while sitting on the floor on a clot of sound cables during tonight's round, I realized 2 things. First, few people can sing well, and fewer still are gutsy enough to sing on stage; this means a large part of the karaoke-singing population will ALWAYS be lousy, timid, or just astonishingly drunk. (I liked the guy who came on carrying a pitcher of beer and drank out of it in between verses. He filled up the judges' cups on his way off the stage.) Second, I despise most popular music. “All the Single Ladies” makes me want to mime a dramatic death or whine or something, and that's one of the songs the winner, Shauna, sang. The runner-up, Robin/Robert Williams, sang much better songs...but not nearly as well. As he put it, "I think we can all agree I had my *** handed to me." Well, yeah.
How is one expected to choose between good songs sung adequately and piece-o'-crap songs sung admirably? Flip a coin? Argh.
The MC was also amusing. He kept swearing at the crowd to shut up; obviously, drunks aren't nice listeners, which seemed to piss him off more than it did the judges. During last week's round he dashed onto the stage and announced, “Charlie back there says there’s no way he’s getting on stage tonight. Well, I have Charlie’s keys.” There was a loud clank as they hit the hardwood floor. “So that’s how that’s gonna go.” (Charlie’s keys were a little stepped-on before he wandered on-stage to get them back.)
This week, Frank-the-MC had an assistant MC, whose name I don't remember, and who led us all in a Baby Seal-Clubbing Song. Yeah. Then he told a story about how the last time he'd led a crowd in that song he'd promptly been introduced to a pretty girl from PETA. But when he explained that he's from Alaska, and that they need the pelts to trade for gold so they can get food, she very kindly said, "I don't agree with your lifestyle choice, but I understand it."
That was almost as funny watching Frank and Assistant Dude sing "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls while the votes were being counted. Eh, not quite.