Karaoke crooners all shook up
Forget cringe-worthy late-night karaoke.
This weekend New Zealand's best vocal talent will compete for national glory and a trip to the international finals in Europe as part of the Karaoke World Championships.
Among the 22 national finalists to sing at the Petone Working Men's Club is Lower Hutt man Raymond Iti.
He is no stranger to the karaoke spotlight, having adopted it as a serious hobby nearly a decade ago.
In his early 50s but "young at heart", Mr Iti said he was normally quite shy but things changed once he had a microphone in his hand.
"I think I'll be fine. I have got my techniques [to get over nerves]. I think everybody will be pulling out all the stops to do their best."
He used to play guitar until his brother suggested karaoke as an alternative.
"The band's already on the track and you don't need to play the instruments. So it's easier," he said.
Mr Iti has sung at local clubs at least once a week for the past eight years. He has previously entered several Elvis impersonation competitions, getting to the finals in one.
This weekend he will sing his favourite Elvis songs and a Roy Orbison tune, but he didn't want to give too much away before the contest.
"If I win, there will be more pressure. I'll just be happy at this stage to get into the top 10. That's what I'm aiming for."
Organiser Liz Whioke said hundreds had entered the contest nationwide and 22 finalists had been chosen for this weekend's final.
This was the second year that the competition had been held in New Zealand.
All finalists will perform today, with the top performers going through to the next stage of the competition tomorrow. The winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to the world finals in Finland next month as well as cash and a trophy.
Check out a video of Mr Iti on stage below:
The Dominion Post