By Jeff Pfeiffer
For those who may have thought that other singing competition series like American Idol and The Voice are basically akin to karaoke bars, albeit usually with more talent than you normally find in a karaoke bar, now you get to see what actual karaoke competitions are like in ABC’s new series Karaoke Battle USA, premiering tonight at 9pm ET with a two-hour episode.
Joey Fatone, Carnie Wilson, music journalist Joe Levy and Brian “The Cowboy” Scott (billed as a “Karaoke Legend” and the 2009 National Karaoke Champion), travel to regional karaoke competitions at House of Blues locales for the semi-finals and finals. The best male and female performers from each regional competition will move on to the Los Angeles House of Blues, where they square off for the titles of King and Queen of Karaoke, along with a prize package including a recording released by Hollywood Records, and a trip to compete at the Karaoke World Championships in Ireland later this year. I’m assuming these competitions are a considerable step up from the karaoke sessions you and I might be accustomed to, held in dark bars with plenty of spirits flowing and some atrocious attempts at hitting high notes, but who knows?
If your vocal chords are up for it, you folks at home (if you are an amateur karaoke singer, and aren’t those the most fun kind?) can also compete. ABC started an online contest today (for some reason the show falls under the ABC News heading, which exemplifies the state of news today). From now through Aug. 23 you can submit videos of yourself singing either “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” or “Unchained Melody” (one of the hardest karaoke songs for a guy to sing — take it from me). Finalists from the best submissions will be voted upon from Aug. 26 to Sept. 15, with winners receiving a professional karaoke machine and a $100 iTunes Gift certificate. Visit the site for further info and rules.
And now I am done typing the word “karaoke” for a good while.