the struggle of loving to sing, but sounding like a dying cat

One of my guilty pleasures is singing reality competition shows. I call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t necessarily find anyone in my demographic watching them like I do. Like I can talk to my 57 year-old coworker about that shocking elimination on The Voice. Or I can definitely dish it out with my 13 year-old niece about how cute Colson from American Idol is. But never can I talk to my friends about it since they’re all too busy to dedicate 3 hours a week to such nonsense. I watch these shows strictly for the singing. I watch the singers perform and I am incredibly jealous of them,  I love the art of singing. I  often sing in the shower, while driving or doing any mundane task, or during karaoke night at one of the local bars. It’s important to know that there are usually four types of people during karaoke night:

  1. those who can sing very well-to-good (although not good enough to not be there).
  2. those who can carry a tune and feel their oats.
  3. those who can’t sing, but try and have fun.
  4. those who can’t sing, at all, but are trying their hardest and still make a fool out of themselves.

I fall into the last category.

It is very disheartening to be someone who loves singing but sounds like smoker Ray Romano meets Ross Matthews with mono. In fact, every time I finish “singing” at karaoke, I’m met with light applause provided by pity and people who just liked my song choice. To make matters worse, and perhaps some sick, cruel joke by the karaoke DJ, I always follow an amazing singer. For example, take Amanda, a beautiful amateur singer who acts nervous and coy but I can see through her bullshit. She starts up the performance quietly and giggly, “I don’t even know this song,”- she mouths to her friends. Then comes the chorus of What’s Up by the 4 None Blondes and she soars. Seriously, she is slaying the performance, her hair is flowing with a nonexistent wind machine, the crowd is singing along, the DJ keeps giving her enthusiastic “woo’s” and when she finishes singing, the crowd goes nuts. “Ok everybody, that was AMAZING! Give it up again for Amanda! Now let’s welcome our next singer, Juan with Baby by Justin Bieber”- Karaoke DJ says while giving me a “you’re screwed” look. To be fair maybe song choice is to blame sometimes. But then I remember I’ve actually had some great song choices that haven’t turned out that well.

  • I Want It That Way, Backstreet Boys- I sounded as if the Backstreet Boys had allergic reactions to shellfish and then sang while scratching their nails on a chalkboard.
  • Zombie, The Cranberries- I sounded as if The Cranberries had the flu while a cow chewed loudly in the background.
  • Don’t Stop Believing, Journey- imagine Journey were singing at a plane with turbulence while ten babies cried simultaneously.
  • Mr. Brightside, The Killers- lead singer Brandon Flowers smoked for a hundred years then puked into the mic.
  • Baby One More Time, Britney Spears- I sounded like Britney’s actual live voice (SHADE!)

So why do I keep doing it, you might ask? Well, like I said before, I love singing. Yes, it would be ideal if I would be actually good. But, is the fact that I am talent-challenged a reason to stop? I actually think I’m doing a service while sounding like a dying cat. I make other singers sound better and I provide good Snapchat content. But most importantly, I allow others to feel less inhibited, to get up, and to have fun. Like, if this anxiety-ridden, sweaty, thick accent-bearing mess can get up and sing What A Girl Wants, so can you! I am not going to say that I’m the Mother Theresa of karaoke, but I’m not gonna not say it either.

So if you’re ever mustering up the courage to sing at a karaoke bar, just take a shot, breathe, and remind yourself, if Juan does it, so can I!

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