Local singer is runner-up in casino karaoke contest

Sweet Home singer CR Wells won second place in a Celebrity Impersonator Karaoke Contest held April 30 at Spirit Mountain Casino.

The contest was limited to 20 contestants, each of whom was allowed one song. Wells was the only contestant from Sweet Home.

He sang “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” by Willie Nelson.

“That song was my third choice because my first two choices had already been assigned to other contestants,” Wells said. “I felt very good about finishing second with my third-choice song.”

Prizes were $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. The winner impersonated Patsy Cline singing “Crazy” (written by Nelson).

“She did an outstanding job and was a very gracious winner,” Wells said.

He said people have told him for years that he sounds like Nelson when he sings, so “the choice to do an impersonation of Willie was almost predetermined. And in addition to that, his age and mine are separated by only about 18 months. I’m the older.”

Wells said he entered the stage “rolling a do-it-yourself cigarette, which the crowd acknowledged with gusto.”

The contest included three Elvis impersonators, “two of which were as good as I’ve seen anywhere,” he said. “There were three Willies. Among others were: Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Chesney, Cher, Lady Ga Ga, Garth Brooks (the third-place finisher), and Diana Ross.”

It was the second time among the winners of Spirit Mountain contests for Wells, who was first in the contest in 2003, dressed as the Grim Reaper and singing a take-off of a Patsy Cline hit that he renamed “Stalking After Midnight.”