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Your Country Needs You.

For the Karaoke World Championships
 
 Posted July 2008     Share/Save/Bookmark
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In a sense, this is the culmination of nearly every karaoke singer’s dream; you know the one, where you’re singing that oh so hot Chris Daughtry tune at the local pub that you perfected after hours on end in the shower, the car and in front of the cat when no one is home, and wouldn’t you know it, in walks in a record producer on a 4 hour layover between New York and L.A., who is already annoyed with the airlines that he has a layover in Allentown, Pennsylvania near your dive karaoke bar, but low and behold he hears your melodic voice as you put the finishing touch on “I Walk the Line” and take your bow as the crowd roars. The producer is intrigued, he buys you a drink, and you tell him your story, he slips you his card and writes his cell on the back; your going to Hollywood!


Here Come The Karaoke World Championshipskaraoke championships

 

Karaoke has finally arrived with the advent of the largest International singing competition worldwide; the Karaoke World Championships (KWC).  Originating in Finland just five years ago in 2003, the KWC has grown from seven participating countries to nearly thirty.  The original world championship, drew over 10,000 spectators, and has crowned the top male and female karaoke performers each year thereafter. Officials of the KWC bill it as a “multi cultural international music event without [national] boundaries that captures the spirit of music, entertainment and fun.”

The prestige of the event grows every year. In 2005, the top five male and female performers were invited to sing for the Princess of Thailand in Bangkok during a nationally televised, black tie fundraiser event for victims of the 2004 Tsunmai.  Iyad Sfeir, the 2005 KWC male champion went on to win the popular Finnish version of American Idol in 2007, and the 2006 KWC female champion, Tham Hui Chyi , and third place male winner Badri Ibrahim, both of Malaysia, were offered recording contracts by Sony BMG and Warner Music.

Bringing Home the Gold for the U.S.

While there has not been an American winner of the KWC to date, prospects look good. The U.S.   started competing Michael Moses Griffin- 2008 Karaoke Championshipin the KWC in 2004, and has placed in the top five of the men’s category each year since except for one (2006).  In 2007 however, U.S. male singer Michael Moses Griffin gave everyone a run for their money.  After mastering five different songs to be performed in five separately scored rounds, Griffin was narrowly defeated for first place by Lu Hee Wah, of Malaysia. As the highest ranking American competitor in the KWC, Griffin, a music major at Northern Illinois University, became an instant celebrity.  He told the media in an interview that he had been inundated with Facebook friend requests from people all over the world. He was invited to perform at the Irish National Karaoke Championships in 2008 and he will be given a heroes welcome as he returns to the 2008 U.S. world championship in Ohio this September and the karaoke world championship event in Lahiti Finland on October 23rd. (see a video of Griffin's performance)

 

 

The Anti-American Idol

Each year, the KWC-USA organizes karaoke contests at local venues across the states, culminating in the national championships.” It is truly a grassroots movement” explains Wendell Payne, Head of the KWC-USA organization. “I found the amount of real talent out there to be truly amazing,” The KWC-USA gives aspiring singers a chance to show their talents without the age restrictions and professional brutality of American Idol auditions. Contestants get to be judged by their peers first, at local contests in karaoke clubs along Main Street USA. The next stop is the state championship and from there, the regional championships. Regional Champions get an all expense paid trip to the annual KWC-USA national event.  

   In a sense, this is the culmination of nearly every karaoke singer’s dream; you know the one, where you’re singing that oh so hot Chris Daughtry tune at the local pub that you perfected after hours on end in the shower, the car and in front of the cat when no one is home, and wouldn’t you know it, in walks in a record producer on a 4 hour layover between New York and L.A., who is already annoyed with the airlines that he has a layover in Allentown, Pennsylvania near your dive karaoke bar, but low and behold he hears your melodic voice as you put the finishing touch on “I Walk the Line” and take your bow as the crowd roars. The producer is intrigued, he buys you a drink, and you tell him your story, he slips you his card and writes his cell on the back; your going to Hollywood. Okay wakeup dreamer, that’s what this competition is all about. It is almost that easy, thanks to the KWC organization. Indeed, KWC-USA has democratized the music industry, contestants no longer have to quit their day jobs, lie about their age, and sell their souls to become singing stars, no its as easy as finding a local karaoke contest.

The popularity of the U.S. national competition is growing as participation has grown among the state every year. Corporate sponsors like Chartbuster Karaoke and Big Mama’s Karaoke Café have invested a good amount of time and money to ensure that event attracts good talent to represent the U.S. each year. Payne explains “Chartbuster Karaoke loves the concept and wants to support us in any way they can. I am extremely thankful for their help and I look forward to working much more closely this coming season. “



KWC-USA anticipates that the U.S. will be host to the grand international KWC event in upcoming years. Payne notes that there has been increasing interest in the event not just by local bar owners but by county fairs, local charities and other social groups. This all translates into an annual event that will get bigger each year. This year, the event will be hosted by Paramount’s Kings Island Adventure Theme Park in Cincinnati, Ohio on a huge outdoor soundstage.

A New Way to Boost The Bottom Line for Bar Owners

 Perhaps the best feature of the KWC-USA is how easy it is for local bar owners to participate in this contest. Local venues need only sign up at www.KWCusa.net  and invest about $400 to receive the official contest rules and materials. The rules are not overbearing, but do provide local judges with simple judging criteria. Local venues are then free to recover their investment with nominal entry fees if they choose, but the benefits of hosting a KWC local contest far outweighs any expense. First, advertising the event promotes the local venue as well, and venues with a core group of karaoke singers and a reliable K.J., will automatically increase customer loyalty and goodwill by taking the karaoke up a notch, both as an art form and spectator sport (yes people come to karaoke contest to look too). And of course there is the all important bottom line, and every bar owner knows that patrons mean revenue.  This is playing out in venues across the country, PUB 44 in New Smyrna, Florida did so well with hosting a local contest , that it decided to host the statewide championship as well. The local final alone drew 100 patrons. Even the big fish in the pond are taking notice; Top Tunes Karaoke of New York is looking to expand its participation to its other venues across the country, indeed karaoke contests are good for business. 

 

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