So last Friday night was our Relief Society’s retreat. We called it “Girl’s Night Out” and truly did some very girly things. We stayed up until past mid-night eating good food (like nachos), doing Dance Dance Revolution, lounging and chatting on 6 foot bean bags, giving ourselves manicures and pedicures, and singing karaoke.
I love to sing karaoke; in fact, I provided the machine and all the song discs. But as an ardent people watcher, I LOVE to WATCH people do karaoke. For me, the Karaoke characters fall into the following categories:
The Diva: This is the person who chooses really hard songs. These people are hard core and usually pretty brazen. They will belt out a ballad including all the vocal gymnastics they sing along with on the CD at home. This person can usually sing pretty well, and is not shy about letting you know that. They get mad if they don’t sound good, and blame it on the bad acoustics.
Idols: Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, or Celine Dion
Preferred venue: stadium or arena
Can’t perform without: pyrotechnics
The Beatnik: This is the person who prefers a smaller more discerning audience. They chose songs by folk artists, hippies, and acoustic performers. They often sing well although they are more humble about it. They rarely choose silly songs or crowd pleasers.
Idols: Sarah McLaughlin, Joan Baez, and Norah Jones
Preferred venue: Coffee house on poetry night
Can’t perform without: a stool
The Party Animal: This person doesn’t care what they sound like. They are usually mediocre-to-awful singers with either a healthy sense of irony or few social skills. This person chooses crowd pleasers with the intent of bringing down the house. Rarely does the Party Animal perform by him/herself; it is usually with other party animals or with reluctant wall flowers ripped from the comfort of their own chairs.
Idols: The Village People, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, or Meatloaf
Preferred venue: a smoky bar with lots of neon beer signs
Can’t perform without: pretending to play the instrumental section of the song be it guitar or keyboard
The Auditionee: This person loves country music and is convinced that if they could just get to Nashville they would be the next big thing. They only sing country karaoke simply as a step to getting closer to performing at the Grand Ole Opry.
Idols: Patsy Cline, the Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain
Preferred venue: mentioned above
Can’t perform without: a twang
The Shocker: You would never expect this person to get up in front of others and have the guts to sing a song, but they do; and when they do they are GOOD! This person actually sings so well that the rowdy crowd settles down and people stop talking to listen.
Idols: Dido, Alison Krauss, and Juice Newton
Preferred venue: their own shower
Can’t perform without: a spotlight
Then we have the other familiar characters: The Producer…the person who incites other people to sing songs but who never sings him/herself. This person can be quite convincing. They prey upon people who are dying to sing, and who are just waiting for someone to ask them to. This person usually has the knack for choosing just the right song for just the right person…like, say…”Back In The U.S.S.R” for the two Russian ladies in the ward…
The Validator: This person sits dutifully in the audience and claps and shouts out encouragements during the instrumentals like: “You go girl!” “Sing it like you mean it!” and “Wooooo!” This person is vital to karaoke. Too often, people are so concerned with picking their song or waiting for their turn that they forget to give the support they themselves are hoping for. The Validator beefs up the crowd and incites audience participation without ever taking a turn…heavens no.
But in the end, who you are at karaoke night says a lot about you. Though what it screams the loudest is either “you need to get out more” or “you need a good therapist.”
Happy birthday, Emma Jo.