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Neil Diamond – Making it big, the karaoke way
Hours spent memorizing that old Neil Diamond record and singing in the shower could pay off for one lucky Lloydminsterite talented enough to be picked Canada’s top karaoke chorister.
Friday June 02, 2006
Lloydminster Meridian Booster — Hours spent memorizing that old Neil Diamond record and singing in the shower could pay off for one lucky Lloydminsterite talented enough to be picked Canada’s top karaoke chorister.
It’s the Canadian National Karaoke Championship, a two-month-long crusade to be the best ‘karaoker’ at the regional, national, and even international level.
“It’s really just a lot of fun,” said Rene Banalik from Ezzie’s on the Border. “Some just like to sing and some people do have a lot of hidden talent.”
The country bar has been hosting qualifying rounds every Tuesday night since May 23 for local singers. At the end, judges will vote for the top male and female contestants, sending them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Regina for regional finals. There, two male and two female finalists will advance to nationals in Toronto. The first-place winner across Canada will win a $45,000 recording package and a trip to the world finals in Finland.
It’s for these reasons karaoke is much more than a silly party pastime for some. For those who enter the contest, mock-singing their favourite artists is a feeling of being almost famous, if only for a moment.
“If you can partly sound like the person but you also have your own style to it, that’s the best,” said Balanik on what she feels is the key to karaoke. “If everyone sang the way it really sounded, it would be boring. You have to add your own thing.”
Win or lose, the local competition is less about international fame and more about having a good time. Belting out their tunes, warbling lyrics, and occasionally missing entire verses, some will go no further than their 10 minutes on the Ezzie’s stage. But some have a natural ability, as Balanik explained, to sing relatively well and at the same time be a crowd- pleaser.
“Another key to karaoke is to sing a song well – not 100 per cent but well, and play to the crowd,” she said.
And that could earn one karaoke-loving contestant a trip to Finland later this year.