Friday, August 20, 2010

But Simon Was Nowhere To Be Found...

I've never seen the television show American Idol. No wait, I watched it once a few years ago.  It was the season finale the year that the two Davids battled it out for first place.  I paid attention for about 15 minutes and then got so bored that I did something else while the show merrily played on my TV in the background.

For years, friends of mine have wondered how a cover band-fronting, karaoke-loving amateur chanteuse like myself could be so uninterested in American Idol.  I have no explanation other than the fact that I like my karaoke live and in person, I suppose.  However, this week I got what could turn out to be a live preview of the upcoming season of American Idol.

After my vocal workout class on Wednesday evening, I met a friend at Encore Karaoke to sing a few songs. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a mercifully small group of drunken revelers celebrating a birthday party.  Luckily, they were easy to ignore, and soon my friend and I realized that a lot of the other, better behaved warblers at Encore that night could sing really well.  I usually do my karaoke at The Mint, which is known for its stable of really good singers, so I didn't see anything odd about a karaoke bar filled with talent. Not to mention the fact that I was kind of keeping up with everyone. It pays to go singing after a voice class.

Then this guy asked me if I had a "band." Thinking he meant that he thought I could sing well enough to be in a band (which some would dispute, but whatever), I told him that I am, in fact, in a band and proceeded to tell him and the woman he was with all about Sober Nixon. The two of them nodded politely and smiled before letting me know I'd misunderstood.  "No, do you have a wristband?" the guy said, indicating the white paper circling his companion's wrist.

Wristband? Ahhh, at that moment I understood the proliferation of good singers. 

American Idol held auditions in San Francisco on Thursday, and probably half the singers at Encore Wednesday night donned wristbands guaranteeing them a chance to be seen by the judges the next morning and afternoon.  Everyone was rather good, but my favorite of the Idol hopefuls was a guy who looked like he'd stepped out of a ZZ Top video or Hells Angel convention. I don't know about you, but I'd expect a guy who looked like that to belt out Metallica or at least Steppenwolf.  Nope. This gentleman crooned Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys.

And that was positively awesome.

All in all, it was a really fun night. I even ran into a couple of other friends of mine who don't normally do karaoke. At least I never knew they did. I stayed out too late, however, and ended up only getting five hours of sleep that night. That wasn't a big deal when I was 25 or even 30, but these days... Well, let's just say I needed to sleep for 10 hours last night to recover from Wednesday. Ah, old (meaning: middle) age.  The upside, however, is that I can tell any confused friends who wonder why I'm not watching American Idol that I've already seen it this year.

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