100% Rock in Ambience Mall at Vasant Kunj was the setting for the North Zone Finale of the third McDowell’s Karaoke World Championship and the place was electric.
The North Zone finale is a clash of Karaoke champs from Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow, to choose who advances to the Indian finale at Mumbai on October 6th. Over 70 trials are held in 13 cities India and in the end only two will be picked to represent India at the Karaoke World Championship final in Finland between 24th and 26th November.
Judging the vocal pipes were Indian Idol finalist Meiyang Chang, singer composers Nandini Srikar, Shibani Kashyap and IshQ Bector. In the final judge Aditya Jassi, the participants had a role model, someone who had gained a foothold in the world of music after winning a Karaoke contest.
Crowd favorites Sweet Child O’Mine and Use Somebody started things encouragingly before the next contestant mewed out Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting For You prompting IshQ to get up on the stage and fire up the rest of the participants. “Own your category! Just come up here and tear the m***********g stage down!”
As if on cue, Hasin from Jaipur stepped in and blew the crowd’s mind away with his soulful O Re Piya. He held the notes, he drew them out, he had the crowd hooting and whistling and pretty much aced the task IshQ had set them just five minutes ago.
Yamini Ishwar, singing Joss Stone’s Fell In Love With A Boy and Harpreet Singh singing Unchained Melody slowed it down before Prachi from Delhi tore the floor, having the crowd join her on Rolling In The Deep. Then it was time to rock, growl, play the air guitar and jump around as we got to hear covers of Lamb Of God, Deep Purple and Metallica.
The fog machine sputtered to life at intervals so sometimes you heard the singers before you saw them. Pranav Garhi made genius use of it, imitating Elvis note for note, lilt for lilt in his Can’t Help Falling In Love.
The smooth singing and the McDowell’s had the crowd warmed up and cheering and singing along soon. Ankita Dash had everyone eating out of her hand when she crooned Etta James’ At Last. Saurabh Sabyasachi then showed us exactly how Bon Jovi would sound if he were to cover Kid Rock.
At that point it was hard to see the remaining participants top the ones already gone but boy was I wrong. Wrapping up the night were four of the best singers and the next 20 minutes of the show felt like a highlight reel.
Nitin Namani’s cover of Michael Buble’s Feel Good put the mood up high before Marshall stepped in with the set of the night. His medley began with Stand By Me, worked into Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye, turned it into Oh Carol, shifted into Beautiful Girls which by now everyone in the place was singing with him, led that into Sanu Chhodke Na Ja Soni Baliye before finishing it off with the loud and proud crowd sing along – Yeh Dosti!
Blanche Warnan from Delhi then sang My Heart Will Go On, making it the first time I’ve heard the whole song in this century. Next man in Rupin wrapped it up, getting the crowd to sing Bruno Mars’ Treasure with him.
The judges had a quick top secret discussion in the spa lounge and entertained the crowd with their own little covers while the points were tallied, Shibani obliging multiple requests with her Sheila Ki Jawani and Chang melting minds with his brief launch into Paani Da. Soon enough, we were told who would be in Mumbai for the India finale on October 6th: Ankita Dash, Marshall, Blanche Warnan, Nitin, Rupin and Hasin!
The night ended there with the judges and winners goofing around on the stage with their trophies and songs but you can still participate by watching the performances on KWC’s official facebook page and voting for your favourites.
Article by - Monish Moorthy
Pictures by - Kanishk Jain