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First step: Admitting you have a karaoke problem

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By Robert Villanueva

OK, I’m not sure how this happened, but my home has become a part-time karaoke bar.

OK, I do know how it happened, but I’m not telling.

OK, I’m telling.

You see, it all began with a karaoke machine. It was one of those portable units that needs to be hooked up to a TV or monitor. I bought it for my other half, Rebecca Ricks, for Christmas about a year and a half ago.

That’s how it starts: you think the karaoke is going to be limited to a whimsical pastime with your sweetie.

It all seems innocent enough. You don’t suspect a thing when it begins its invasion.

But it does invade. Slowly, at first.

You’ll be hosting a get-together with a couple of friends, and one of them will be drawn, as if by an unseen and irresistible force, to the karaoke machine. She’ll casually mention she enjoys karaoke.

Then the karaoke CDs come out, and so does your impersonation of the Bee Gees (or at least one Bee Gee) performing “Stayin’ Alive.” Oh, the humanity.

But you and your guests have been pulled in. And you don’t even realize your predicament.

Suddenly, the night is over and it’s like waking from a music-enhanced daze. You only vaguely realize you spent three hours singing to a crowd of three people.

You find yourself thinking that might be fun to do again sometime.
And “sometime” arrives sooner than you think because karaoke has taken on a life of its own.

The next time you and your significant other host a get-together, the karaoke machine is there, beckoning to you. You comply, thinking, “What could it hurt?”

Then your Sting impersonation comes out for “Every Breath You Take.” Someone busts out “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and you find yourself in a duet performing the perennial karaoke favorite “Love Shack.”

That’s right: Love, baby, that’s where it’s at.

At the next get-together, someone brings over more karaoke CDs. The karaoke machine beckons once more, and you are only too happy to comply.

Then the next thing you know, someone who DJs professionally is among your guests and generously offers to bring over equipment next time. At the next get-together, the setup becomes a rock concert extravaganza, including monolithic speakers, multiple microphones, multi-knobbed voice modulating equipment and a computerized system with thousands of songs.

By this point, the get-togethers involve a crowd of almost a dozen and the songs span all genres.

You expect a pyrotechnic light show at some point, somewhere among performances of songs by Missy Elliot, Foo Fighters, Barry Manilow, Prince, Louis Armstrong and Dolly Parton.

Guests occasionally hold up lighters, languidly swaying their arms back and forth as the flames waver. Sometimes a guest shouts “Freebird!” as someone steps up to the mic.

When the guests leave in the early morning hours, it hits you: You’re looking forward to the next karaoke get-together.

You’re hooked. You’ve got the karaoke monkey on your back, and Cheetah wants papa to sing.

OK. So that might be stretching it a bit.

The truth of the matter is the karaoke get-togethers have been fun and a chance to let loose and enjoy the company of friends. Singing is not a requirement, and we’ve had friends join us who just enjoyed socializing and watching the spectacle karaoke can incite.

So I don’t really mind that my home has become a part-time karaoke bar. It’s reassuring to know that’s one bar I don’t have to worry about being bounced out of.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.