Last week when meeting some new people, I was invited to watch a Karaoke League competition.
Karaoke LEAGUE? I thought. Since when do people compete at karaoke? In a league?
I was told that it’s serious business. To the point that it almost sucks the fun out of karaoke. But that’s what also makes it so hilarious.
So, I said I was down. Not to sing. But to spectate.
Last night I headed to Midtown, and found Pulse Karaoke right next to Bryant Park. The bouncer was nice and a little flirty. The bartender quick with the drinks and queuing up the songs. Oh, did I mention it has open bar everyday from 6-7pm? Then it goes to buy one get one free for a little bit after that. I guess you gotta have good deals on liquid courage if you’re in the business of karaoke, no?
While I was rolling deep with a bunch of Koreans, I was surprised to see the rest of the club was pretty diverse. All kinds of people were there.
Before the competition began, the floor was open for everyone. Someone killed an Anita Baker song. And not in a good way. Once I got comfortable at our table, this Black man got up and sang “Ain’t Too Proud To Bed” by the Temptations. Great selection. His tone was beautiful, and I thought I wanted to marry David Ruffin on the spot
After a few more karaoke failures happened, my girl asked me if I wanted to sing with her. She said she loves R&B and you already know I’m an R&B girl, so why not? I couldn’t be worse than these other people.
After flipping through the book thinking of some of our favorite R&B artists, we settled on “Golden” by Jill Scott. This song was perfect. It would allow me to belt out my notes, move fast to a beat, and I had a partner to carry me if I got too shy all of a sudden. Usually when I do karaoke, I choose rap songs (salt N pepa, Jay-Z, word up!)…but I could be talked into a Jill Scott track.
Nobody really cared about who was singing at this point, which was GREAT. The stage at Pulse Karaoke is really nice. Between the screens, the lighting, the decor and the mics, you almost feel like you’re famous. “David Ruffin” seemed to be enjoying my singing and told me later I did a good job.
I’m pretty sure I have fallen in love with karaoke because it allows me to pretend I’m some some singing superstar, even though I know full well I am always off key, pitchy and just flat out wrong when I’m singing. But I don’t care. Karaoke beats my other stage–my shower–and there’s nobody in my shower to appreciate all this singing goodness I have in me.
Once the competition got started, you could see people were really serious. People had props. Most of the men dressed up as women and sang gay anthems. One chick sang a heavy metal song which I was a bit confused about. Either way, I spent the next 90 minutes in stitches. I haven’t laughed that much, for so long, in a while.
Karaoke league is not a game. I don’t think I’m ready for the pressure, but I do think everyone needs more karaoke in their life. I’m almost tempted to have a karaoke party for my birthday or something. I can’t decide which is better though: private rooms or the public stage. There’s something spectacular about watching strangers make fools of themselves.