Bar Exam

Mic me

Stripper Karaoke takes (it all) off

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Photo: Jacob Kepler

I’ve tagged along on karaoke nights before, but none quite like this. Sure, there’s the usual database of 70,000 songs (including a large Korean selection), and there’s the requisite private room with dual microphones, but between the couch and the screen that will inevitably broadcast the lyrics of Elvis Presley and The Righteous Brothers, there’s an elevated stage with a stripper pole. It’s all part of Stripper Karaoke at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club. This being Las Vegas, I’m not sure if the question is “What will they think of next?” or “Why haven’t they thought of this before?”

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Sapphire

Within the last couple of months, the private bachelor-party room deep in the heart of Sapphire has been remade as a karaoke room. $300 gets you the room with a bottle of champagne, and at $400 per girl, you can stock the room with as many entertainers as you like. The karaoke gimmick was expected to draw in bachelor parties, but in the weeks since it began, it’s had greater success drawing in single karaoke aficionados, like Mike—a repeat customer and my singing companion for the evening.

Amy, the room’s cocktail waitress, gets things started with a stunning rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”

“Some people request her instead of the entertainers,” says Gordon, a VIP host who can really belt out a tune as well.

But tonight, Amy is entirely devoted to bringing confidence-building liquid courage. The entertainment for the evening saunters into the room in the form of Jenna, a blond dancer in a red dress, who bears a striking resemblance to actress Kate Hudson. Much to her chagrin, I point this out (and clearly I’m not the first to do so), which leads to her being renamed Kate for the remainder of the night.

“I have a much better body than Kate Hudson,” she protests.

Better pipes, too. Her version of LeAnn Rimes’ “Hurt Me” doesn’t do much good in upping Mike’s and my collective confidence in our own singing abilities. If they expect me to sing, they need to get a few seriously tone-deaf girls in here to make me look good. Mike, however, is beyond pleased with the lady Gordon’s selected, and promptly launches into an ongoing series of marriage proposals.

“We’re better than Match.com” Gordon brags.

I quickly discover that when you mix karaoke, a steady flow of Jäger shots and partial nudity, once-familiar songs start to change lyrics. The line “… these city walls …” from U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” becomes “… these titty walls …” And Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” becomes “Don’t Let Your Son Go Down on Me.”

“That’s the George Michael version,” Mike assures me, before singing the rest of the song directly to Jenna/Kate.

“I’m getting serenaded,” she says. “This is fantastic. I’m gonna show you my left boob just for that.” And she does.

In the meantime, my shot glass seems to have mysteriously been refilled with more booze, which Mike urges me to quickly consume. In high school, they warned us that our peers might pressure us to drink. If they’d warned us that our peers might do so as a means of pressuring us to sing, I might’ve heeded those warnings.

Inevitably, a mic is thrust into my hand, and I find myself staring down lyrics to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Oh, no—not the sappy song from Armageddon. Hilariously, Jenna stands in front of me, bends forward and pulls her dress up over her G-string-clad backside as I read the lyrics “I don’t want to close my eyes …”

The noise pollution is over a few minutes later, and I note that from that point on, Mike takes to each song with a renewed sense of confidence and enthusiasm. He wasn’t bad to begin with, but next to me, he sounds like the fourth tenor.

But the great thing about karaoke is that once you run the gauntlet of humiliation with, say … a cheesy song from a Michael Bay movie, there’s no reason to stop singing, and I soon find myself, without coercion, screaming John Lennon’s crazy backup vocals in a “Hey Jude” duet with Mike.

It’s fun, and while there’s no guarantee that Stripper Karaoke will be pleasing to the ears, it’s certainly sure to be easy on the eyes.

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Matthew Scott Hunter

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