Young man finds happiness in karaoke

By Joshua Dalton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The flare of blinding lights, the silhouettes of 100 faces turned in the same direction, the screech of a microphone held too close to the monitor, jests and heckles, "Am I on?," these things mesh to create the thrill and agony of karaoke.

Before stepping on the stage, one must choose a song to butcher or honor, whatever the case may be. Unless the particular karaoke venue is a rather odd one, there will be a nifty book with all the available songs cross-referenced by title and artist, often totalling over 1,000 selections. I ultimately chose the anthem to the man that lives his life undercover, "Secret Agent Man," by Johnny Rivers.

The tension was building in me. Unfortunately, the moment of release was three songs away; three horrible songs away. The first was a thrashing of "The Greatest Love of All," by Whitney Houston. The other two were so completely horrible that I blocked them from my memory.

Finally, my name was called. My friends cheered me on obnoxiously. When the music started, the yellow lyrics began to appear on the screen and I became "Karaoke Jesus." I danced. I sang. I gallivanted. The women swooned. The men scowled. I was soon finished, meeting cheers and yells for an encore or two.

I satisfied those cheers. Yet, I stepped up for a second time for me, not them. Karaoke was a drug, and I was addicted. Rifling through the pages of the song book, I found myself staring at the songs under the Carpenters. My choice: "Close to You."

Again, I waited my turn. This time the wait was longer. Still, patience paid off and I soon found myself on stage, among joyful whoops and hollars.

The Carpenters themselves had rarely sounded so good. My heartfelt, dance-filled rendition was perhaps one of the greatest performances karaoke has ever seen. Unfortunately, that would be the last turn I would get at the microphone that night. Still, the memory lingers long after the music has gone. I will return, and it will be yesterday once more.

"You May Survive" is a regular feature of Thursday's alterNation arts section, in which Wildcat reporters take a little risk and brave unusual situations or commit acts that Wildcat readers may or may not want to take part in themselves.

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