Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Confessions of a Canadian Idol reject

People in Vancouver take karaoke very seriously. This isn’t the kind of place where you get shit-faced and make an ass of yourself singing cheesy power ballads off-key while your friends laugh hysterically.

In Vancouver, you don’t do karaoke unless you’ve practiced at home in front of the mirror for three months. And if you show up without perfect tone, pitch and key, you won’t be allowed up on stage more than once.

Your friends may be howling while you screech through a Celine Dion number, but no one else is. Applause is reserved for good singers.

I know this from first-hand experience. I’m not a good singer. Not even close. A teacher in grade school once told me I was tone deaf after hearing me sing O Canada. Luckily, I have no shame and don’t embarrass easily.

My friend Carl thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday yesterday at a gay nightclub, which was hosting a karaoke night. I assumed it would be full of people singing ABBA and campy tunes. You know, the kind of place where you get shit-faced and make an ass of yourself singing off-key power ballads while your friends laugh hysterically.

Wrong. The only thing separating gay karaoke from regular karaoke was the pink sequined curtain framing the stage, and the fact that most of the earnest Canadian Idol wannabes were gay.

The good singers were invited up on stage over and over again. Like the DJ and his friend, who kept bumping the bad singers to the back of the line while they sang bad slow songs. Mostly Christian country songs about the bible and crosses on the side of the road. It was hard to tell if they were being ironic.

They let me up on stage twice. The first time I sang Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer," which was a strategic choice because it’s one of those songs that sounds better when you yell instead of sing. "HOLD ME CLOSER TINY DANCER." See what I mean?

The second time I tackled a more challenging number, Kylie Minogue’s "Can’t get you out of my head." I was not allowed back on the stage after that. So I figured if I wasn’t allowed to sing, then I was going to dance. The funny thing is, once I hit the dance floor, so did everyone else. It became a lot more fun after that.

And who says a gay bar isn’t a good place to meet men? One guy pulled me aside to tell me he thought I was "gorgeous." Okay, so he was blind drunk and with his boyfriend. It was still nice to be on the receiving end of a compliment. Especially on my birthday, bad voice and all.


Anonymous said...

Sarah, the next time you are in Toronto, you have to go here:


It is totally the kind of place where you can make an ass of yourself singing off-key power ballads while your friends laugh hysterically and still get applause and the host, Carson, will get you back up for more.

key? what's that?

thestraightpoop said...

Hey Gorgeous, I used to think that song was "Hold me closer Tony Danza..." and I thought why would Elton John have a thing for Tony Danza? Haaa.

Sounds like you had fun, and I can't wait until next time.

Sarah said...

It was fun! Sorry you couldn't make it Tamara. I know what you mean about "Tony Danza."

I used to think there was another Elton John song that was about nature: "...how wonderful life is while you're in the woods."

I thought it was about how nice it was to walk in the woods. Turns out what he's really saying is "...how wonderful life is while you're in the world."

I found that out on Monday night when the words were on the screen. Shocking! Now the song takes on a whole different meaning.


misschief said...

this is very good to know. i have never done karaoke ... and may not ever .
we had a machine at our wedding...it was great fun until my brother in law started to sing " i like to go swimmin' with bow leged women and swim between their legs" to my step mother.
that ended the singing portion of our evening.
but the entire group of men singing 'love shack' was one of the highlight for me. and i have the pictures to prove it(muaahahaha)

Callie said...

I think everyone should have at least one really horrifying and embarassing karaoke memory. I have two. One singing "Bust a Move" with my brother on a pub crawl and and another singing "Brown-Eyed Girl" with a bunch of girls. Both involved copious amounts of alcohol consumption following my brilliant idea to run a tab at the bar... a bad habit I have. Anyhow I'm fully in favour of making an ass out of yourself, if not monthly, then yearly.

taminator1969 said...

I have never been brave enough to try karaoke but that may change in the near future.

My favorite story is about a guy who requested a song and wanted to hear Slow Walking Walter.

The band on stage had no idea what song he was talking about so they asked him to sing a few lines.

He replied, "Sloooooow walking Walter, the fire engine guy," to the tune of Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water. :)

To check out common misheard song lyrics, visit: www.kissthisguy.com/

Sarah said...

Too funny!


Anonymous said...

i heard about your unfortunate "virus" the day after your birthday and how you missed work from it
i know it's funny to refer to me as the booze hound of the family, but keep in mind that i have not missed work or one day of school this year because of being hungover...
i'm glad you had a goodtime, but maybe you should stick to 0.5 beer like george s.


Sarah said...

For the record, I was not hungover. I had a virus. Must have been something in the drinks (not alcohol). And it was the first time in about three years I've called in sick.

Beat that! You're still the booze hound of the family :)


The Black Rose said...

I hold the dubious honor of being one of two kids not chosen to be part of my grade school's choir. EVERYONE made the school choir. The only other person not to make it was a girl who had mono. It was traumatizing; I joined the church choir because I was so upset. Sadly, I didn't have any success there either and I pretty much lip sync'd through every mass.

Sarah, the next time you're in the T-dot, we should have a karaoke/dance party.

Sarah said...

I might be in the T-dot in May so I'm holding you to it ;)