Aug. 27, 2011 -- This week, "Karaoke Battle USA" found its way to Houston, Texas, where everything is bigger-- including the karaoke talent!
The South region battle was a study in opposites with singers ranging from a 49-year-old who once weighed 440 pounds, to an 18-year-old who still has her braces. In the end, the competition became what host Joey Fatone called the "rawest, raciest, most raucous" karaoke battle yet.
It was that 49-year-old, Melody White, who blew away our judges with a rousing rendition of Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead." Judge Joe Levy was so impressed with her performance, he wryly remarked, "I completely believe that you own a shotgun" (she does). Mel, who called singing karaoke "a high you can't get out of alcohol or medication," even managed to flirt with judge Brian "Cowboy" Scott asking him if he wanted to be her "future ex-husband."
It was Carnie's turn to flirt when former bodybuilder RL Bell took the stage, screaming "is anybody else getting hot" after RL's performance of The Commodores' "Three Times a Lady." Judge Brian was impressed, commenting, "the guy with the guns just shot this place all to hell!"
58-year-old Joe Archuleta put down a surprising rendition of Tom Jones' "Delilah." An impressed Judge Joe Levy told him, "I want you to take this the right way—that was weird." He also called the mild-mannered singer with the big voice, "a little bit accountant, a little bit swinger."
26-year-old Charlotte Hicks told us that she moved to Nashville in her pickup truck to chase her dream of becoming a singer, dog Elvis in tow. She wowed the judges and crowd alike with a countrified rendition of "Stand by Me." Judge Brian commented, simply, "you are phenomenal."
And it was that phenomenal performance that was enough to get Hicks into the final battle, along with Mel White. RL Bell and Joe Archuleta were the best of the guys. In the end, it was RL Bell's performance of a Lou Rawls classic-- called "hot buttered soul" by Judge Joe-- that made him a semi-finalist, and Charlotte Hicks' take on Melissa Etheridge, called "powerful" by the judges, made her a winner as well.
Who will be our final Karaoke King and Queen? Keep watching "Karaoke Battle USA" to find out!