Friday, December 19, 2008

La Vida Loca

While M's been down south, I've been trying to keep myself busy. So, when my friend Judy asked me and our friend Zeke to help accompany her at a singing competition, I jumped at the chance. She had already placed in the audition, so this was a finals competition.

Here were the songs she picked:

SeeqPod - Playable Search

Typical to China, Judy had only been given a week's notice about the event, so we didn't think it'd be too big of a deal. Little did we know.

Monday night, we show up to the venue at Peking University and the place is abuzz with craziness. Apparently, one of our favorite brands of ramen noodles was sponsoring the event, so there were stacks of ramen everywhere. People were giving out free hand-clappers, thunder-sticks, glow bracelets, at the door, setting up bubble and smoke machines, dv-cams, and projector screens. While we were soundchecking, friends were making signs for each of the participants:

It turns out this was the Beijing area university finals for a Idol style competition, the winner would perform in the city-wide competition in the spring. The stakes were high for the 11 other karaoke star compatriots we would be facing off against. Zeke and I surveyed the competition, quickly becoming confused. Some of our competitors were androgynous. We spent several minutes debating ("Totally a guy..." "No, wait" "But...").

Eventually, the event started and we were ushered backstage. The night started off with a bang: a foreign student hip-hop crew doing an evolution of dance style routine (as a guest act, not in the competition). While I'm sure some of the jokes were lost on our native Chinese audience (Will and Carlton's dance, anybody?), it certainly got the crowd riled up.

One of the contestants was a hip hop crew + rapper team, replete with full choreography. Another group was an a capella group who did a medley of Jay Chou's Jian Dan Ai, which sounded kind of like these guys from UM, although instead of Where is the Love?, they medleyed Jay with Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden. I used to sing those two songs together, so if anyone asks, you can tell them you heard it here first...

One of the most epic performances was Livin' La Vida Loca by one of the aforementioned ambiguities. Shortly before the performance, Zeke and I had confirmed that she was indeed, well, a she. As she began, these two scantily clad dancers walked out from either side of the stage. Halfway through the song, the dancers shimmied up to the singer and ripped away her white shirt to reveal another a black shirt with tears in it (I think it was cued to that part about waking up in New York City). Pretty exciting stuff. I'm just glad she didn't do a different Ricky Martin song, infamized by one of my floormates in college: She Bangs.

After we performed our first song, we got some feedback from a panel of pseudo-famous people. It was surprisingly fun, actually, the whole Idol/reality TV feel. Then they narrowed the competition and we performed our second song. Unfortunately, here's where we lost to one of the girls who sounds like a guy. She eventually went on to win the competition, though, so it's kind of like we got second place :).

Most of the contestants at the end were the guys who sang like girls or the girls who sang like guys. Judy says it might be because Chinese people think that's really impressive. Hmmm...well that's cool, I guess. Too bad they haven't discovered this guy, Nick Pitera, yet:

(Oh, I just read that Nick works for Pixar now...Berkeley crew, you guys should find this guy and be his friend! So hot.)

1 comment:

tamela said...

wow, this guy nick is crazy! hmm... not sure how it would be to be known as "hey you're the guy who can sing like a girl!"

hey, merry christmas you guys!!! tons of love xxx