Then off to the show, which was starting at 7:00 to make room for the S.J. Pride contest.
In case I haven't made it clear, I'll repeat it again: I hate karaoke contests, both from a client and K.J. perspective. There are several reasons. First and foremost, I spend my time encouraging people to sing, regardless of their skill, because, well, honestly, I think it's good therapy. I think too many people are beaten down by a society that tells them to shut up, because they're not as good as an over-produced professional. There's something about performing in front of an accepting audience that is just good for people, even if they are as mediocre a performer as, say, Britney Spears.
And a contest adds that concern for "skill" back into the equation. It tends to make people discourage, rather than encourage, each other. I don't like that. I like a happy audience, not one that's at each other's throats.
Then there's the whole judging process. I've never seen a contest that was judged well. And I've even been at a contest where they brought in recording professionals to do the judging. Most of the time, however, as in this case, the largest part of the process is crowd reaction.
Bars like doing crowd reaction, because it encourages people to pack the crowd with friends - and hopefully those friends will be drinking.
But it turns the process into a popularity contest, as opposed to a singing contest. And those that are good singers and don't win get very, very bitter. And apart from the bad atmosphere thus generated, this ends up being bad for the bar because those people leave.
Lastly, and most minor (Especially in this case), a lot of contests involve a variety of styles - country, alternative, hip-hop, etc. How do you judge a good country singer vs. a good hip-hop singer?
I've watched shows run by friends in the business, where they run contests as a matter of course. The whole 5 weeks of selection, semi-final, final thing. I've wondered what the hell was wrong with them. The first show would be a good night, the semi-final would be a good night, and the final would be elsewhere, and therefore completely dead. All other nights would suck, and about half the crowd would end up bitter and never come back. Unpleasant, and terrible for business.
But anyway. Last night. I started at 7:00, and someone from Pride was supposed to be there. Of course, one of their people straggled in around 7:40, after I'd talked to quite a number of people about how the contest might be run. Their whole group didn't even get there until 8:00 or so. Between James, them, and myself, we hashed out a way to run the thing.
Of course, this was while the show was running, we were all talking separately, so James is now very upset with them over decisions that, well, I made...
At the end, we did one round of all contestants, then reduced the number to 4 through applause. Then the 4 sang, people applauded them, then the Pride committee decided which two to pick. A little weird, but again, it's a karaoke contest. Expect not the logical.
We ended up with a paltry 10 contestants: timenchanter, dancin_whitey, nikari, cekyr0, valeriesparks, swanhart, Christina, kozmic_tar, Effie, and Brett. A good group, but I would have liked more people to sign up. Ah well.
The semi-finalists were Matt</b></a>, Alex, Christina, and Brett. I believe most of the "bitter loser" syndrome showed up with Kyle, who spent the rest of the evening upset that Brett had gotten in the finals. At least, most of it that I saw...
In the end, the winners were Alex and Christina. I'm pretty sure once she got into the finals, Christina was a foregone conclusion - the committee seems to have been looking for one male and one female. Still, for whatever reason, we ended up with a couple of excellent singers representing the bar, and that's a good thing. Also, well, if you're bitter about the process, consider: You lost to Alex. You're surprised?
I continued with the show from there. The obvious occurred: Everyone left early. By 11:00, the bar was pretty empty. I seriously considered ending around midnight, but thought I'd run for a bit more in case supersniffles or Steven showed up - which they did.
Trankenstein also showed up, which was probably financially worth it to the bar right there.
I ended up closing down around 12:45.
I've survived this stage of the process. We'll see how things go at Pride.