NOBBY'S DIARY: ANDY'S JUDGING IN BUENOS AIRES, DAY 3
Saatchi & Saatchi Australia executive creative director David Nobay is in Buenos Aires, judging the Andy's, along with a star-studded panel of the best creatives in the world, including Mother´s founder, Mark Waites, DDB Chief Bob Scarpelli, Leo Burnett's Mark Tutssel and Crispin´s ECD Andrew Keller. Here is his report on day two...
Judging international shows would be seriously fun if it wasn’t for two gremlins: jetlag (Australia is a long way from almost everywhere) and hotel e-mail (I must be the only CD left alive who hasn’t jumped on the Blackberry revolution). Last night, thanks to something charmingly known as a brown-out, my wife’s hotmail crashed twice and along with it my diary entries. So, for the third time, let’s do this thing.
Straight off, we’ll ignore the mundane details of the day’s judging and get straight to the real reason we all came here: the ANDY All-star Karaoke Slamdown. Always a fan of the street fighter’s credo: "get the first punch in then get the fuck outta there," I lost no time hitting the stage with my newly-formed backing babes "The Nobettes" (comprised of my wife, Sarah Barclay and Aussie ANDY babe, Wendy). Together, we nailed a Wilson Picket soul classic, "Midnight Hour," by channeling that fat Irish bloke from the Commitments (not such a stretch) and seriously straining my tonsils. To be honest, given the stunned reaction of the crowd, I thought we’d clinched it and retired overconfidently to the bar for a victory round.
The man-mountain Tutssel jumped up next and quickly dismissed the racial stereotype that all Welshman can sing, followed by our Thai crooner Thirasak, who displayed true Jedi-like karaoke powers by manipulating every muscle in his face to convey the true beauty of the lyrics, while simultaneously every muscle in his larynx sprinted in the opposite direction. Lost in Translation, Thai style. The chicks went crazy.
Next up, Wieden London´s Kim Papworth, who ignored the obvious temptation to belt out Honda’s “Impossible Dream” (you’d think he’d know the words) and went for what I can only assume was a Leonard Cohen medley, but without the cheeriness. Clearly something of a musical auteur, our French judge, the diminutive pocket-rocket Marie Catherine from TBWA Paris, sauntered up next, brushed aside the compere and ignored the teleprompter altogether to deliver what some bemused spectators suggested was an impersonation of Eva Braun singing to her love in German.
At this point, I reckoned I was still in Gold position. Unfortunately, I hadn’t reckoned on the Tiger Woods of the Karaoke world strutting up next. To the untrained eye, Andrew “Goldilocks” Keller has the face of an angel and the soft, birdlike gait of a teenage girl. Don’t be deceived. Crispin clearly didn’t earn its creative rep through charitable donations and after-hours flower arranging classes. Once Keller knew the game was on, he put together a string of hits that landed with all the focused intensity of a prize-fighter wired on crack. First out of the gate was “Bohemian Rhapsody” (a karaoke bear trap in the wrong hands). It quickly showed off his eunuch/Barry White range to full effect. He followed that with a full falsetto version of every girl’s dreamboat James Blunt doing “Beautiful”. POW! By now he was cruising, with the full room right behind him, leaving my sweaty, fumbling fingers flicking through the songbook by candlelight. The onslaught continued. Keller then threw the big punch – a straight off the cuff rendition of a local classic “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” POW! By now, I had moved to Jack Daniels; a sure sign of trouble. Keller’s coup de grace? What else, a modified version of “Real Men of Genius” (Bob Scarpelli actually cried and dropped to his knees). Game over. Thanks for coming.
Not known for being gracious in defeat, I tried trash-talking Keller, but only succeeded in challenging the entire jury to a Jack Daniel drinking competition until the wee hours. At least I walked away with a little respect.
What else? Oh, yeah. One of our caravans of co-sponsors, Lance from Time Magazine, got mugged outside the hotel in clear daylight and got his freakishly large Panieri watch stolen. Fortunately, apart from a couple of scratches that was the worst of it. Big Italian wrist watch: $5,000. After-dinner story: Priceless.