Brushing up on their karaoke
By Emma O'Neill
IF THE word 'karaoke' takes you back to nights singing into a hairbrush or playing power ballads on your air guitar well, the times they are a changing. Karaoke just got serious. On Saturday night, the Richmond Hotel in Lismore hosted the first heat of the Karaoke World Championships Australian Trials. One of two winners from Saturday night's heat, Naomi Watson, of Goonellabah, impressed judges with her rendition of Black Velvet, so she will be back to perform at the finals in 13 weeks. "Karaoke isn't just about your voice, it has a lot to do with getting the crowd involved," she said. Two years ago, when Naomi was performing the Love Shack, she succeeded in getting one member of the crowd very involved. "I met my partner at a karaoke night two years ago. He sang What About Me and we just got chatting," she said. "We both compete in karaoke competitions now, but don't usually critique each other." Naomi said she would spend the next few weeks rehearsing for the final, which her partner Jeff Morris also plans to enter. "I usually practice by singing to my baby, and he sings in the car," she said. Event organiser, Karaoke Kyle, has been involved with karaoke for 17 years, and has run the karaoke night at The Richmond Hotel for the past two years. "I think people like karaoke because it's an interactive form of entertainment," he said. "This competition is the serious side of karaoke, and time for people to show their stuff, but usually people just come down for a few laughs." Two winners will be selected at the Richmond Hotel each Saturday night for the next 13 weeks. The overall winner will then represent the venue at the Northern NSW regional final. If the judges are impressed, one local contestant could be an air guitar strum away from being named karaoke king or queen of the world and walk away with $35,000 worth of prizes. Not a bad prize for a 'sport' you can practice in the shower, and one where beer can become performance enhancing.