Open a stage to any karaoke performer and the result can be humiliation, triumph or even love. While the latter sounds farfetched, karaoke stars admit to attracting the occasional karaoke "groupie'' if their voices happen to touch any hearts or minds.
As South Floridians, we don't take our karaoke as seriously as residents of some Asian countries like China, where karaoke is a status symbol. "Here it's more of a option for a party - to get together, drink and have fun," says Miami Beach businessman and frequent traveler Art Massolo. "Over there, it's more of a status thing. Everyone always goes to sing for whatever occasion, and it's usually on a daily basis."
But karaoke still makes for lively entertainment in South Florida. The problem with lively is that it's not always tantamount to quality. Our visit to eight local bars helped identify the broad classifications of tropical karaoke participants: The serious performers who are out to prove why record labels should call them back; the inebriated, mumbling rock star who throws in foul language that appears nowhere in the lyrics; and the hordes of bachelorette party girls who invade the stage with vigorous dancing and Mick Jagger-like swagger.
While there are plenty of talented exceptions, listening to many entertainers comes in a close second to hearing two rabid feral cats fighting it out in a back alley. In case you want to show your stuff to a jovial audience far less critical than British soul crusher Simon Cowell, click on the links to read where to rock out.