It took until the last week of the year, but I finally found what could be the most pathetic karaoke operation in all of Western Washington. From top to bottom, Skyway Park & Bowl Casino has everything you don't want from a night of karaoke.
For starters, they don't hold the karaoke in their lounge. Instead, it's relegated to an area near the video games that looks more like a hotel convention hall--a huge room with bare walls and a bunch of empty tables. The KJ Station and stage are set up in a barred-off area at the front end of the room, which opens up to the bowling area.
This tells me the venue couldn't care less about making the karaoke experience fun.
A 300-lb Filipino dude in his twenties was singing "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men as I got there, and he was really good. His family watched him from outside the fence in the bowling area. The first indication this place was going to suck was when they all dispersed after his performance was done.
There was one table of people and a lady taking drink orders as I established a spot in the room. I ordered a Bud and searched the tables for a catalog organized by Artist, but there were none. I started wondering if they were deliberately trying to deter people from singing. Trying to pick from a catalog organized only by song title when you don't know what you want to sing is a huge pain in the ass.
Since it was so dead in there I decided to sing some early Beatles. I don't request those songs at busy places, because the songs are so short, it's like wasting a turn. I gave my slip to the KJ. He was Filipino, but obviously didn't know I was as well, because he treated me like I had shit smeared on my face. He sang two songs back to back before calling me up to sing "'Til There Was You." I've sung that song a million times at family parties and it's right in my vocal range, but I swear to God, this guy tuned it up a key on me. I completely tanked. When I was done, nobody clapped.
Some more folks came in and joined the lone table. A lady who looked to be in her fifties got up and sang a fine rendition of "Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt, and received ample applause. Up next was her daughter. She was pretty cute and sang the old Nat King Cole standard, "L-O-V-E." Her performance was decent as well, and she too got applause from their table.
A couple random Filipino guys then came in from the outside to sing a number, and they left as soon as their performance was done. I then realized that they set the karaoke area up for Filipino gamblers that like to get in a song between hands.
I decided to make the most of the night by trying to get one solid performance in and win over the grumpy KJ and six people in the audience. Hence, I requested one of my big guns: The Honeydrippers' version of "Sea of Love." I've killed time and time again with that song. Once again I died up there because the key was set too high. After that was done, I got sympathy applause from one person at the table. This KJ had to be fucking with me. His job is to be the person that initiates applause if no one in the room is willing to, and he left me hanging out there like a complete asshole.
The lady that sang Bonnie Raitt did "Greatest Love of All" for her next number. Whitney Houston is one of the toughest vocalists to mimic, and she did a solid job again. Her table and the KJ really gave it up for her after that one.
I decided to give it one last shot with "I'm No Angel" by Gregg Allman. I knew that even if the KJ kicked it up a couple keys I'd still be able to handle it. I was glad to hear from the first couple notes that it was just right, so I really delivered. I saw the lady and her daughter watching me from their table as I yodeled the last notes, and it finally felt good up there. When the song ended you could hear a fucking pin drop. I headed straight for the door, and should have spiked the microphone on my way out.