Chubby Rain hosts rock star karaoke contest

Contestants will be backed by Chicago band the Night People; contest to be judged by celebrity judges

There are countless places around town for beginning singers to feel like a rock star. However, many karaoke setups don’t have great sound quality or the feel of being in the limelight.

Chubby Rain House of Tunes is giving these singers a chance to not only feel what it’s like to sing in a live band, but to possibly win prizes for it, too.

“Everybody has karaoke, but nobody has done it with a band,” said Mark Currier, co-owner of Chubby Rain House of Tunes. “The whole intent was to give it a new twist.”

Beginning Jan. 27, Chubby Rain will launch its first “Live Band Karaoke Contest: Be a Rockstar Challenge.”

Hosted by 97ZOK’s Stefani Troye, the challenge encourages those interested in being a rock star to try out the position in a competition format.

To make the experience even more realistic, Chubby Rain has chosen the band Night People, named Chicago’s best classic rock band of 2004, to be the masters of music for the competition.

The challenge will begin with the preliminary rounds, which are held on the last Friday of every month from January to April. Sign-ups for the challenge will start at 7:30 p.m. Only 26 contestants are allowed per night, due to time constraints.

“Twenty-six is probably the most we can handle in one night with the first singer starting at 8:30 p.m.,” Currier said.

Sign-ups will be taken all night, just in case contestants decide to cancel or chicken out.

Once the round begins, competitors will sing a song they get to choose from a list of pop, rock, ballad and country songs the band knows inside and out. They will then perform this song in front of Chubby Rain guests and a panel of celebrity judges, including Troye.

Each Friday, the band will decide on four to five competitors to sing again in the finals, scheduled for Friday, May 26. In light of a tie, Troye will make the final decision on the winner.

Prizes will be awarded to the winners of the challenge; however, every competitor receives the best prize: a chance to sing the lead with a real band.

Currier expects the turnout of singers and spectators to be great. He has had a lot of inquiries about the event.

“Since we started advertising this, just locally, I probably have answered 50 e-mails and maybe 70 phone calls,” he said. “I think it’s going to be huge.”

Currier said he wants all those participating to remember not to make the challenge too competitive.

“We just have to make sure the spirit of it stays fun,” Currier said.

The challenge starts this Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge to participate or watch. Also, don’t forget to stop by the following night, Jan. 28, for the band Catfight, whose lead singer, Gina, will be going to Hollywood with American Idol!

Chubby Rain House of Tunes is at 4210 Countryside Estates Drive in Poplar Grove. Info: 765-1884. For more information about Night People, check out their Web site online at

From the Jan. 25-31, 2006, issue

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