Let’s just be clear: I don’t think I would ever win American Idol. The fact that I go out to karaoke at least a couple times a month, and have now publicized that I want to be in a karaoke contest might give you that impression.

I’m not sure exactly why being in a karaoke contest seemed like such fun back in January (but it still does). I guess in my head I’m envisioning a dive bar and my good karaoke buddies also entering the contest. We would all sing the same stupid songs we do every other karaoke night, but somehow one of us wins money for our hilarious stage presence, crowd appeal, or unrehearsed dance moves.

However, this last Saturday night is making me retool my karaoke contest vision. The fact is, when I go out to karaoke at a bar with my friends, I pretty much hate 50% -75% of the crowd. I realize I’m about to get super karaoke snob on y’all, but here goes. There are certain “types” of people, and each one of these people thinks they are totally original, but in fact these types of people simultaneously exist at most karaoke bars in Portland (and possibly the world). These people are ruining karaoke for me.

Type 1: Wanna-be American Idol Star. She sings Killing Me Softly by the Fugees, or some other song that is like 8 minutes long that displays her “range.” Sometimes she’s good, sometimes she’s bad, all the time she is annoying.

Type 2: Fat Party Dude. He sings Tenacious D, or some other novelty song and thinks he’s the first one to have done it. He’s drunk and obnoxious, and often has a beard.

Type 3: Slutty Girl. She may not even know the words, but you can bet she’s bumping and grinding in a “my eyes are now bleeding” kind of way. Sometimes she’s hot, sometimes she’s not, all the time she’s taking home the guy in the Ed Hardy shirt.

Type 4: My Friends Dared Me to Sing. He or she bragged that they knew the words to Ice Ice Baby but then they choke when they get on stage. Not only is their stage fright hard to watch, but their song sucks, too. (However, if they pull it together, this person can become downright endearing).

Type 5: Bachelorette Party. Ok this requires more than one person. This is a team of drunk girls that squeal into the microphone, with Disney songs, Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, or Madonna’s Like a Prayer.

Type 6: Aspiring Broadway Star. Unlike the American Idol wanna-be, this person is usually a great singer, but then they ruin it by singing show tunes. NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR SHOW TUNES! Often they include fancy hand gestures or swing their jacket like it’s a feather boa.

Type 7: Hipster dude. He wears ironic sunglasses and looks like he probably hasn’t bathed in a few days, but he’s cooooooool. He sings an obscure Lionel Richie number no one remembers (because it sucked!). He is often accompanied by a gaggle of other hipsters who are far too cool to sing themselves.

This last weekend, my friend from Seattle was in town and I took her to a local joint to sing karaoke (a place I’ve had a good time at before). Sadly, the night was a perfect storm of all of these people. On top of that, the KJ instituted a “Naughty or Nice: Christmas in July Contest.” While the contest was only four or five songs, seeing Slutty Girl and Fat Party Dude crooning Santa Baby made me want a full lobotomy.

Fat Party Dude in action. The resemblance to Kenny Powers is striking.

Look how unhappy I am!

Look how unhappy I am!

I really do apologize for calling these people out. There are far more of them than there are of me, and they deserve to be out there and have a good time – but at what cost?!


Look how much fun I CAN have!

Luckily, there IS a solution to my woes. Voicebox has private karaoke rooms (for about what I would normally spend anyway), with better food, better drinks, and only people I invite! Not only that, but I can sing karaoke at 3pm and be in bed at a decent hour! GENIUS!

But this begs the question – WHAT ABOUT THAT KARAOKE CONTEST? I’m kind of stuck. I said I would do it, but good lord I can’t handle another Pit Stop night. I will never get those five hours back. Should I just suck it up? host my own private contest? Help!

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