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Aug 152012
 

“It’s not American Idol.” If you’ve ever sung karaoke somewhere, you’ve probably heard that sentence. Sometimes you are trying to justify your lack of powerful pipes to another participant, and that’s how they make you feel better. It’s also an overused quip from a group that notices a prima donna who monopolizes the microphone. Either way, I don’t think anyone mistakes a sticky bar floor and beer soaked mic for a stage fit for Carrie Underwood. Karaoke can resemble a professional concert or a hungry cat, depending on who is singing that particular night. There are no auditions, anyone can get up and belt out a tune, whether they are tone deaf or not. Suprisingly enough, I have seen a great deal of talented crooners that show up at even the the dimmest dive. If you have never gone to a karaoke night because you are positive you will be twinging at off-key singers all night, think again. You will probably encounter a few warped sounding warblers, but most likely you will be entertained as well. Not every venue is the same; the performer may be so lucky as to get an actual staged area, or it could be a 2 x 2 spot on the floor where you’re dodging the tipsy traffic. Alcohol is not a necessary component of karaoke, but a popular one. Liquid courage definitely begets bravery for some singers, and some are just naturally cocky, whether they have the skill to back it up or not. As for myself, I’m smart enough to realize that

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although cocktails give confidence, they can also cause chaos, such as forgetting words, slurring, etc. As for the audience, imbibing can can lead to adulation and applause, but that’s not always the case. Sober or not, there are the ‘judges’ out there wherever you go, it’s part of the territory. The general rule is, if someone is too afraid to put themselves out there, they should just shut up and clap.

This is also a great activity for shy people. I used to be introverted when I was younger, so I’ve always had to push myself to engage in activities where I’m in front of a crowd. This is not to say I don’t get so nervous right before a song that I may as well be in front of the Julliard school board. I wait to hear my name with anxious anticipation, and when it is my turn, I feel like running away. For some people, this feeling continues through the performance, and you can hear the ambivalence in their voice. With me, although every part of my mind and body is trembling, I just tell myself to go big or go home. It works, and I put on the best performance I can, engaging the audience with eye contact and even dancing a little. Never let them see you sweat.One thing I can always say about karaoke is that it is almost always a good time, even for the amateur singer ‘haters’. As an amateur myself, my rule is, if your singing doesn’t break any glasses, it’s a good night!


Editor’s Note: This was Cindy Starr’s original Karaoke Blog posted on WeekendBroward.com in July of 2011. Like the fear of getting up on stage, writing a blog is something that everyone should try. I look forward to publishing more blogs from Cindy and any other local karaoke singers and KJ’s who would like to give it a try.