Well here I am on the Megabus again. This seems to be the only time I can find the motivation to blog. (Mostly because I am confined to a single chair for 4 hours with nowhere to go and only a computer to entertain me. I can only sit on facebook for so long...) I am on my way back from my final trip to Boston for what I'm guessing will be a while. I had to go back for the finals of that karaoke contest I've been talking about. I made it through 3 rounds to the finals last night, where only 7 of us remained (after months of competition.) I walked into the Cathay Pacific Restaurant with my eye on the prize ($1000 first prize, not too shabby.) Upon entering to the tacky decor of the venue, my eye was soon struck by something I was definitely not expecting- at least 150 people hustling and bustling about, getting ready to watch the contest. Keep in mind, I have been through 2 other qualifying rounds for this thing and at MOST there would be maybe 35-45 people. Just a few tables filled up. Now, they had opened up an entire second ROOM and the place was PACKED. Immediate freak-out ensued. The problem was, this thing was being decided by popular vote based on the audience. If there is one thing I have always failed at, it's anything involving "Popular vote". It's been that way ever since 7th grade when I first tried running for student council, wanting to represent my homeroom class. Little did I know that even though I had every intention of getting in there and trying to make a difference for my school, running to represent your class had nothing to do with your political intentions. Instead, it had everything to do with how "popular" you were and how many kids in your class liked you/wanted to be you/wanted to date you/were afraid of you. I was crushed by Chris Mackay, the local skater kid who I'm fairly sure had no idea what the words "Student government" meant or what he was even running for, and probably never attended a meeting. Regardless, I never bothered to try running for student council again (or to do anything that required votes from the people around me.)
So back to the contest. I walked in to find that my competitors had brought out their posse's. Unfortunately for me, I do not have a posse. Definitely not in Boston, nor anywhere really. I can't even get people to come see me sing in exchange for free alcohol! I'm not even sure most of the people I know would show up if I gave out free bails of money. I came equipped only with my good friend Judith who was awesome enough to pick me up from the bus station AND let me crash with her. Jordan showed up later too, so that gave me a total of 3 guaranteed votes (myself included). The only other white girl competitor was sitting at the table behind me- and by table I mean 5 tables pulled together to seat the 40 people she brought to vote for her. (Together we made up the only white clientele in the room. We know how much I LOVE this because it means an enthusiastic audience for me!)
I was sweating bullets right from the get go. It's been a long time since I've competed in anything, and awhile since I've sung for that many people. The rest of the competition were good... I called the first place winner the minute he opened his mouth. He is a regular at this karaoke venue and has a huge following and a great voice, and I thought he for sure deserved to win. The only other competition that made me go "hmmm there goes my chance of winning one of the cash prizes" was a woman who dressed up and did Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" complete with wig, a costume under a trench coat, and dance moves. She wasn't particularly vocally talented, but based on the crowd we were playing to (and a BUNCH of voters she brought with her) I knew she was probably taking one of those cash prizes home. I sang last and I definitely sang well, the audience was very receptive. But alas, they could only vote for one person and those who didn't already have allegiance to someone they came with I have a feeling mostly voted for the first place winning guy. So when all was said and done, I did not win a cash prize. Instead they gave me a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant we were at, which I cannot imagine ever gracing with my presence again. (Unless I have a craving for mediocre crab rangoon and giant scorpion bowls and a hankering for some cheesy oriental decor.) It was a bummer not to win, I've been in it all this time to try and get some of that cash, but when all was said and done it ended up not having anything to do with my talent, and everything to do with the fact that I have little to no friends. Unpopularity thwarts my hopes again. (I'm convinced in my next life I will come back as the coolest kid in school. I deserve it.)
All said and done though, I'm still glad I went. As John wisely said to me "One of the things about competing in something we care about- we only live once and that is excitement and living to the max. Few people get to do that." It was exciting and fun and I know things would've turned out differently if there were actual judges. I still love Boston and loved all these little trips there to see people and spend time out of hot and smelly NYC.
So what did we learn from this experience?
1. Black people still love to hear a skinny white girl belt some Whitney Houston. (the "sing it girl"'s that I got right at the start of my performance really pushed me to do my best.)
2. The school counselor can suck it, popularity IS important and it can totally ruin your goals not having it.
3. No more competing in karaoke contests judged by the audience unless I miraculously make 1000 friends (or pay people off to come vote for me.)
4. Restaurants with snack machines IN them are the classiest of joints:
5. I just can't contain myself around people with Afro's.
And most importantly, though few and far between I highly value the friends that do come out and show me support and love. For these, I am lucky.
Thanks to Judith and Jordan for joining me for the Finals
(Also thanks to Vicki, Dmitriy, Julie, Jordans friend Dan, Carolyn and her BF, Carisa (BIG thanks to Carisa for not only supporting but DRIVING me to the last round) for coming to previous rounds and helping me get through. And also a shout out to John for being super supportive and encouraging throughout the whole process/talking me through when I was kinda freaking out before the finals.)
And with that, time to get back to drowning out the various languages being spoken that I cannot decipher on this bus by plugging in my itunes and stalking people on the internet.