With the Eight Annual Karaoke to the Death VIII fast upon us, the editors at Dabysan in Hammersmith Palais thought it would be a good time take a closer look at some of the main competitors: their strengths, weaknesses and potential obstacles to taking home Lord Ramsey's Cup.
Not much is known about Aussie Bob, but what is known is enough to be worrisome to other KttD hopefuls. Painfully shy, Bob's sole KttD performance came way back in KttD V, when he delivered a stunningly atonal, unmusical rendition of "Patience" by Guns 'n Roses. The cards were stacked against him from the outset. As a neophyte, Bob would have to battle the cynicism of a hard-bitten KttD crowd. Guns 'n Roses is a terrible KttD choice, given that Axl's keening screech isn't terribly difficult to mimic. And to top things off, Bob knew none of the words outside of the chorus, meaning that for most of the song he was just standing there, silent, trying unsuccessfully to catch up with the teleprompter. Yet for all that, something in Bob's performance arrested the attention of the KttD faithful.
Like reigning KttD Champ Emma Peel, Bob is truly, utterly, irretrievably tone deaf. Tone. Deaf. Can't hear or replicate tones. In a a word (or rather two words): tone deaf. As you may imagine this is a pretty stunning advantage in a bad singing competition. Whatever Bob tries to sing comes out in the same repellent monotone. Awful. And if that wasn't enough, Bob is a super-introvert. It's pretty profoundly clear that he has zero desire to be up on that stage, sucking as badly as he knows he does. Suffice to say, if Bob could bring these twin tools to bear in a concerted bad singing effort, there's know telling what he might do.
The twist in all this, is that nobody really knows how badly Bob really wants to win. This chronicler questions whether he even wants to participate, or if he is doing it to please/humor his svengali/wife Akaijen. When Bob failed to garner substantial votes in KttD V, Akaijen was outraged, insisting that Bob's rancid pipes should have carried him to victory. She even went so far as to accuse KttD V Champ Dabysan -- who's honor is beyond dispute -- of tanking. Akaijen vowed revenge, and now after two years of exile in Holland, she means to have Lord Ramsey's Cup on her mantle by any means necessary. A musician and singer of some repute, Akaijen's only chance to hoist bad karaoke's highest crown is through her pupp...er...husband Aussie Bob. We've heard reports that she's training him in a super-secret Soviet-era facility, pumping him full of horse steroids and shouting Maoist invective in his ears 17-hours a day.
Strengths: Tools, tools tools. Bob has them all. Not many people can bring true tone deafness to bear on the KttD stage. Bob can. And discomfort? Bob has it in spades. Bob also comes packaged with one of the most cunning, ruthless conditioning coaches the KttDing world has ever known in Akaijen. If you were to genetically engineer a KttD competitor, he'd look (and sound) an awful lot like Bob.
Weaknesses: We'll just have to see if his head is in the game. Bob has all the natural skills you could want in a bad singer, but when it comes time to step up to that none-too-clean microphone, natural (lack of) talent will only take you so far. To get up and sing a bad song, badly, with gusto, in front of a bar full of marines and surly townies requires a certain inner fortitude and passion to be the best*. Does Bob have it? Only time, and KttD VIII will tell.