Karaoke Battle USA premiered on ABC a couple Fridays ago. That first episode was the Western Region qualifier in Las Vegas. Back in May, I judged the Washington State Finals at Columbia City Theater and helped choose three of the four contestants who advanced to the televised contest. Every one of them made a mark on the show. Konomi Rivers (whom the Seattle singers voted in) performed well and looked cool every time she was on camera. Anders Marshall, the man I take full credit for discovering, thoroughly entertained the judges with his lazy manner and white-boy soul. And Sammy Vijarro dominated in Vegas just as he did in Seattle, advancing to the semifinals in Los Angeles.
The only one who didn't get praise from the judges was my favorite, Vanessa "Baby Van Beezly" Resler. The editors cut it to look like she bombed by playing her clip at the end of a montage of godawful performances, as a device to show how Carnie Wilson critiques singers tough like Simon Cowell. The couple seconds of her "Bad Romance" performance that were shown were totally in key, and the move she did smearing her lipstick all over her face was totally hot. Wilson insulted Beezly's dance moves, yet they never showed her dancing. If I were her, I would have gotten my money's worth and dropped a c-bomb on Wilson. Instead, Beezly used tamer terms to deride the show on-camera after Wilson finished dressing her down.
I met up with Beezly last week at her new Thursday-night venue, Spitfire, in Belltown.Beezly was in great spirits and joked about her "first and last" reality-TV experience. She was relieved they only showed what they did, and was delighted for Sammy. This was her second week at Spitfire. She loves the new spot and the challenge of growing an audience. It will probably take a little while for the bar-crawlers two blocks over on Second Avenue to find out about this new karaoke night, but in the meantime she has a built-in crew of about a dozen female followers who are there to sing and dance the night away with her.
Spitfire's layout is wide and spacious, perfect for Beezly's dynamic style of hosting. She likes to run around and perform on high surfaces. Everyone that night sat close to the stage area like a good audience should. I've never given Beezly's fans enough credit. She fires them up, but they're the ones who turn things into a party.
Beezly had a rule at the Red Onion (her old spot) that only upbeat song requests were accepted after midnight, and it proved to be very effective. That law is not currently enforced since she's welcoming all crooners, but you really don't want to pick a downer number in the middle of all the fun--and nobody did. Things turned into a nonstop dance party from 11 to close. Beezly is dynamite solo, but best when she gets her sidekick, Sasha Sprinkle, into the mix. They performed "We R Who We R" by Ke$ha, and people got so nuts over it that the cops were summoned to quiet things down.
Spitfire, 2219 Fourth Avenue, 441-7966, BELLTOWN