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Go ahead and sing your heart out, Auburn

Karaoke finalists take the State Theatre stage Sunday
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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With karaoke, anybody can be a star. Pick a song, grab the microphone and you’re the center of attention for three minutes. Karaoke is striking a chord in Auburn, where this style of singing is the focal point of some upcoming events. Auburn Sings, a first-annual karaoke contest, takes over the State Theatre Sunday afternoon. This event, hosted by the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center and AM 950 KAHI, features 12 men and woman who sang their way into the finals during one of three local karaoke auditions. Alfred Lee, owner of Auburn’s Power Club, hosts weekly karaoke nights, called “Auburn’s Got Talent,” which begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Lee wanted to do something to draw a crowd earlier in the week, and decided to kick off karaoke at an hour reasonable for people who have to get up for work the next morning. “On a weeknight it’s kind of hard for people to stay up until midnight,” he said. Lee said he’ll host monthly karaoke finals at Power Club, putting top singers against each other for prizes. Why karaoke? “I think deep inside, everybody wants to be that star,” he said. Warren Burns appreciates places like Power Club, which provide what he calls “clean karaoke” in what he considers a more family-friendly environment. Burns is chairman of Sunday’s “Auburn Sings” event. He likes what Lee is doing at Power Club and, as a member of the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center board, wanted to do something to take it a step further. “We wanted to capitalize on the American Idol concept but we wanted to be original,” he said. “We wanted to make is special to Auburn.” Burns said Sunday’s format starts with each contestant singing one song on stage. Burns said he’ll likely hop on stage to entertain the crowd during intermission, while the judges are deliberating. “I sing the old love songs,” he said, explaining his karaoke style. “I’m a crooner.” Judges will pick their top six, who then go on to each sing another song. The top three singers will be chosen after the second round. “We think it’ll be a really fun time for anyone who enjoys watching karaoke and singing it, and it’ll be an opportunity for people to rally for their favorite singers,” Burns said. Burns said he likes the low-stress, yet high-thrill nature of singing karaoke. “With karaoke, you don’t have the pressure of trying to remember the words, so I think it’s a more relaxed venue,” he said. “It’s so convenient. You’ve got your band in your pocket. You’ve got your own accompaniment with you.” Burns said those attending Sunday’s showdown are in for a treat. “It’s just going to be a fun, fun event, and you get to participate as an audience member, you’re right there cheering for them,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a real success. Maybe we’re going to create a new mold. I think there’ll be an electricity in the air.” Kellie Lockett is one of the 12 contestants warming up for Sunday. She earned her spot on the State Theater stage by singing Reba McIntire’s “Fancy.” “I sing country, mostly,” she said. Lockett said there’s nothing like karaoke. “You can be a horrible singer but people still clap for you,” she said. Jennifer Moore, also competing Sunday, sings professionally and enjoys karaoke during her down time. “I always like to go sing karaoke to keep myself singing, to keep myself practicing,” she said. “I love to sing songs that have meaning in my life. I just love to sing songs that have meaning in my life, and I love to tell stories when I sing.” Moore is excited about karaoke’s local popularity, and about Sunday’s contest. “I think it’s absolutely wonderful that everybody can get together and share their love of singing,” she said. “It’s a celebration of song.” Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com.