Noel Waits Until the End of the Night to Sing Beyonce
Noel likes to wait until the very end of the night to sing Beyonce. Before then she's too busy doling out Buds and little bags of Classic Lay's. But by about 1:45 a.m., the ten customers at Nick's Lounge, which does karaoke every night of the week, have all sung at least once, and Noel glides out from behind the bar, tells Steve the DJ to cue up a deep track--"'Single Ladies' is so overdone!"--and kills. I mean, she really kills. Which is actually saying a lot. Of us ten customers, five are sickly talented. Like "You-don't-need-to-buy-me-a-beer-I've-got-hot-tea-here-in-a-thermos" talented. There's the guy with long, curly blonde hair who nearly out-Planted Robert Plant, hitting every high note in "Whole Lotta Love." There's the tiny woman who kinda reminded me of the principal in Kindergarten Cop and who belted out a song from the musical Rent. She. Effing. Brought. It. There were no winners at Nick's. No cash prizes. But it was clear to everyone in the room that no one unseats Queen Noel. No one. Certainly not me with my slurry, off-key rendition of "Blister in the Sun" that couldn't even be redeemed when I nailed the part where you're supposed to whisper. And certainly not my friend Zach, who sang some deep track by Roy Orbison--"'Pretty Woman' is so overdone!"--and took his shoes off so he could dance an Appalachian jig with an old Asian lady who thought he was cute.
From "On Shuffleboard, Air Guitar and Professional Karaoke" by Tanner Latham; Photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times
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