Wintry weather won’t stop karaoke

Thursday, February 18, 2010



NASHUA – A couple questions arose over the day on Tuesday. Why did the local schools cancel their days? Where was that forecast threatening snow? Around 1 p.m. some answers were given, and given with a fury.

Following quickly after, another bout of Q’s came. Will the first preliminary of the 2010 Encore Superstar competition still go on? If it does, who will show up? What kind of people will come out in this kind of weather to sing karaoke?

Well, it turned out that the kind of people who brave slick roads, minimal visibility, and limited parking are serious, hardcore karaokiers. And it was well worth the possibly hazardous ride to be at Fody’s Great American Tavern for the kickoff of this year’s Encore Superstar competition.

During registration Fody’s was comfortably filled with casual vibes, rich aromas from the kitchen and the patrons and contestants were subdued with warming up and thawing out.

Then, DJ Bernie “D” del Llano belted out “Sweet Caroline.” With his “reaching out” to the tavern, the frost melted, the spirits rose, and group got pumped.

Tom “Shades” Mason, Jill Arnold and John Bell took to the head table for their first night as preliminary judges, ready to see, and more importantly, hear, what the competition had in store for them.

Two contestants from 2009’s finals opened this year’s competition. Denis Riendeau started off by handsomely belting out “Cry Me A River,” (not the Justin Timberlake version), and Steve McGowan followed up by rocking out with Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer.”

Jennifer Coutermarsh, of Nashua, then sang Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” followed by Emily Piccione, of Londonderry, with Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and Krysta Vaskawsky, of Suffield, Conn., with Beyonce’s “Listen.”

After the first break, Justin Rondeau, of Nashua, dropped the hammer, and the shopping cart, with “Everytime We Touch” by Casscadia. Kelly Jameson, of Nashua, also a 2009 finalist, brought the soul with Janis Joplin’s “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder).”

After her, Taunia Soderquist, of Nashua, sang Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know,” and Melissa Denny, of Nashua, sang Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.” Candi Hutchins, of Londonderry, sang “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks to finish up the second round.

After the second break, Myke Havoc, of Nashua, reinvigorated the crowd with Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” Following him, Brenda Bariteau, of Hudson, sang Melissa Manchester’s “Through the Eyes of Love,” and Karen Ashman, of Nashua, did Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary.”

Charlie Simoneau, of Nashua, then sang “Amazed” by Lonestar, and Laurie Bell, of Nashua, did “Mercy” by Duffy.

Mark Flint, of Nashua, finished the competition by bringing the gospel and preaching to the crowd about love before segueing into J. Geils Band’s “Must of Got Lost.”

After a tough deliberation, the judges chose the four finalists for round one: Myke Havoc, Denis Riendeau, Brenda Bariteau and Krista Vaskawsky.

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