Karaoke enthusiasts are coming out in droves every Wednesday night for the District Karaoke League's inaugural season.
"I want to see people meet their boyfriends, their girlfriends -- I want to see weddings come out of this," said league founder Jesse Rauch, who also engineered the last-minute salvation of Screen on the Green a couple years ago.
And obviously people were feeling super romantic after that Week 1 performance of "You Oughta Know."
The 10-week long competition, held at Policy DC (1904 14th St. NW), pits six teams against each other to be judged on bringing, singing and schwinging. What is schwinging, exactly? Showmanship born of team solidarity.
"We’re trying to build a community and have a lot of fun," Rauch said.
Even in its infant stages, this league has been a huge success. Within six days of registration opening, all 48 spots had been filled.
"People are performing at such a high level here," said participant Doug Foote. "With karaoke comes a complete lack of shame. You can’t put up a faux attitude that you’re embarrassed. This is a great outlet for people who don’t take themselves too seriously."
Performances range from Adele ("Chasing Pavements" and Journey ("Don't Stop Believin'") to Aerosmith ("Dream On") and, sigh, even Nickelback.
Each week's overall high scorer nabs a prize. Feb. 23's winner, Erin J., scored two tickets to see Housse de Racket at the 9:30 Club for her rendition of "Killing Me Softly."
Despite the upbeat atmosphere and jovial sportsmanship, the competition is definitely tough.
"Normally I wouldn’t be afraid, but we’re going up against really talented people," said participant Jennifer Yost. "These people have choreography! I didn’t know you had to be in shape to sing karaoke!" (See: schwing.)
The league meets every Wednesday at Policy, with open karaoke at the end for those brave unaffiliated sorts. Team members and audiences alike enjoy drink specials, which according to Rauch, makes for "more motivated performances."
...Which only leaves on question: Where's the team "Pitch set me up"?