Sports Media Karaoke Report
Yeah, I know some of you would prefer I not produce yet more navel-gazing media reports. But look at it this way: at least this isn't about Brandon Lloyd.
I was going to score all the contestants in last night's Sports Media Charity-oke event from 0-10 in four categories: Vocals, lyrics, performance, and intangibles. But I gave up for several reasons: there were too many performances, and my critical faculties were gradually dulled, and, most importantly, Tony Reali's vocals deserved considerably less than zero points, rendering my scale insufficient. So instead I'll give some Best Of categories. And rest assured that I won't write about the D.C. sports media until, at the earliest, next Monday.
Best All-Around: Comcast SportsNet personality Michael Jenkins, and it wasn't close. From an attitude-laced duet with Kelli Johnson (Positive K's "I Got A Man") to a polished solo stint (Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison"), Jenkins was already comfortably ahead. Then he rocked "Nuthin' But A G' Thang," spitting profanity like he was born in Compton, settling easily into a West Coast patter, engaging the audience (comprised largely of Comcast SportsyNet employees) in raucous call-and-response, and, for me, the evening was pretty much over. Plus, he did it all in a sweater-vest.
Best MC: Fox 5's Dave Feldman, who, in addition to performing "Cat in the Cradle" with CSN producer Joe Yasharoff, got off a few choice one-liners, such as "You said it was gonna be packed" when he first arrived, "We need some women, or Dan Hellie," after a string of male performers, "You can see his work on page E13 of the Washington Post," when introducing Wise, and "Disrespectful [bleep bleep]," when he thought some audience members were ignoring his performance.
Best Refusal To Compromise: CSN's Chick Hernandez, who maintained his "I'm Stevie Wonder and I'm Blind" gimmick for much of the night. Very nice pitch from Chick, but I couldn't help but think of the look on Randy Jackson's face when some of the Idolettes attempt to tackle Stevie. "Dawg," I think his advice would start. Chick definitely has talent, though.
Best Improvisation: Johnson and Jenkins deserve special mention for their "I Got A Man," which was not on the DJ's playlist. They downloaded the song from Wal-Mart for 88 cents (plus tax) and then performed it nearly flawlessly without the benefit of the blue-screened lyrics. Plus there were frequent suggestive hand motions. And KJ had green boots.
Best Costume/Best Use of Alternate Lyrics: WRC's Lindsay Czarniak and Redskins Radio's Bram Weinstein, in what was obviously a rehearsed "Copacabana" with a whole bunch of lyrics about Alexandria and Channel 4 and sportstalk radio. Plus they both wore strange hats and formal outfits. A little bit too high-school-talent-showish, perhaps, but still a solid B for entertainment value.
Biggest Unknown: Some guy named Guile (?) who, despite not technically being a member of the D.C. sports media, performed more songs than any of the sports media members, including a very convincing version of "That's Amore."
Best Grungy Growl: Tie, Around the Horn's Tony Reali ("Plush") and Washington Post Live's Russ Thaler ("Jeremy"). Thaler was, to be sure, one of the evening's most pleasant surprises, steady of tone, in control of his vocal instrument, almost unfailingly on key. Thaler was especially strong on "Thunder Road." Reali was, in a word, terrible. But he went first, which is an impossible task, and he had the growl thing down pretty good.
Biggest Surprise: WTOP's Craig Heist, who, after adjusting his fly, delivered a surprisingly passable rendition of Elvis's "If I Can Dream." When you're used to listening to a guy give full-throated lightning-paced updates from baseball games, and then suddenly he's crooning ballads, it really makes you think, about first perceptions and hidden talents and whether it's ok to eat waffle fries that have landed on the ground.
Biggest Introvert: So yeah, after screeching his way through "Jessie's Girl," invading the dance floor during several performances to bust a few of his trademark broken-legged-squirrel-on-heroin dance moves and attempting to upstage his MC, Mike Wise finally performed his landmark karaoke version of "Livin' On A Prayer." First the white dress shirt came off, revealing the black "Stop Bitching Start a Revolution" t-shirt. Then the t-shirt came off and our famous columnist was dancing bare-chested while performing Bon Jovi in a Bethesda bar. I have photos, but they're Too Hot For TV. I paid $5 to watch the karaoke show; I'd pay that much to see just one more shirtless stanza.
Best Random Line From an Onlooker: "Better you than Kornheiser," to Wise, following his disrobing.
Most painful no-show: Marc Nigel Sterne, doubtful before the night with a sore throat, was in the building but not in uniform.
Best hip-hop performance by a former Idaho resident: Kelli Johnson? "Shoop?" This was really a great event.
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