Chapter 267: Presence
No one in the room disputed Qin Guiyue’s position as the frontrunner after she tallied up 98 points, and she thoroughly deserved to be the winner. However, there were still first and second-runner up positions to compete for, so everyone continued to sing with great enthusiasm.
Some sang love songs, some inspirational songs, and some even performed duets.
Zhang Dashan was a down-to-earth guy, so he chose “Give Me A Hug, Brother.” He had a rough voice, and that quality was very suitable for this song.
“Give me a hug, brother, tell me your mind,
Tell me all about your sad past and changes of vicissitude all these years.
Give me a hug, brother. If you want to cry, cry it all out,
Cry it all out for all the deep-buried hardships you’ve had all these years.”
When he belted out the song, all the men listening recalled their younger days when they were both frivolous and fearless in pursuing relationships. It reminded them of the quote from the movie, A Chinese Odyssey: “the longer one lives, the more dog-like he becomes.” There was some wisdom in that, as time was a great leveler, and social norms would gradually smoothen the rough edges.
Xiao Luo was of a different mind altogether, and shaking his head, he murmured to himself, “I’m so sick of hearing this song from you!”
Zhang Dashan habitually selected this song to sing at the karaoke, and sometimes he would even sing it twice. Xiao Luo was sick of hearing it. To hear it again, it was merely noise to him, regardless of how well Zhang Dashan delivered the song. However, when compared to Hu Shuiping, his voice was heavenly.
The little loli, Bei Bei, sat obediently beside Xiao Luo, with her two tiny hands on his thigh. Her big eyes were staring at the screen, and she seemed to be very interested in the music videos’ content.
“Girl, can you sing?” Xiao Luo asked her jokingly.
The loli nodded and replied eagerly, “Bei Bei knows how to sing the nursery rhyme mommy taught.”
Xiao Luo patted her head affectionately and nodded silently.
Zhang Dashan finished his song with a flourish, and the system gave a score of 96 points!
What the heck!
It surprised everyone and nearly caused a riot. When did Zhang Dashan ever display any musical talents even from his college years? They couldn’t believe that he had gotten such an outrageous high score. They could accept Qin Guiyue receiving 98 points, being the main vocalist of the band during her college years, but Zhang Dashan?
“I’m very much humbled, hahaha…”
Zhang Dashan received the applause with utmost modestly but laughed out loud as he stepped back to his seat.
“F*ck, this system has a definite problem. Even you could get 96 points, while I only score 11! And I even hit the high notes!” Hu Shuiping was all riled up. He always believed that he was on par with Zhang Dashan, in terms of singing ability, so he felt very dissatisfied when Zhang Dashan’s score flashed on the screen.
Zhang Dashan patted his shoulder and rubbed it in, saying, “That’s because I’ve sung it well, you don’t know shit.”
Hu Shuiping rolled his eyes, and turning to Guo Qinghe, he said with firm resolve, “Chairperson, I demand a re-match!”
“Re-what? No, once is more than enough, I’d rather commit suicide than listen to you sing again!”
“My earwax almost flew out just now. Shui, please don’t sing again.”
“We’ll drag you out and kill you by humiliation if you dare to sing again!”
Everyone was firmly against it, and the thought of it made them want to throw up. Earlier, they had encouraged Hu Shuiping, but only for laughs, and even then, they struggled to sit through his horrible singing. Once was enough!
Guo Qinghe tried to not laugh and simply advised him with all sincerity, “Shui, everyone’s only got one chance. Since the score’s out, then you should accept it wholeheartedly, don’t feel embarrassed, people won’t laugh at you.”
However, those words only made the others burst into more laughter.
Hu Shuiping put up his signature sympathetic face: frowned eyebrows, pouting lips, and droopy eyes. And this brought about even more laughter, and everyone was rocking in their seats, unable to contain themselves.
Tang Wantian had been texting her colleagues about the investigation of San Qian Luo Shui, but she didn’t cocoon herself from the crowd. She chose a song by Feng Huang Chuan Qi. Her score turned out pretty high at 92 points, which also gained everyone’s praise.
Guo Qinghe then chose an inspirational song.
“Nothing could stop, your longing for freedom,
unlimited and unrestricted life, your heart has no worries…”
His voice was both gentle and magnetic, and he lifted everyone’s spirit with his fine rendition.
Even though he only received a score of 86, he had won everyone’s admiration nonetheless.
“The score doesn’t matter. Chairperson, you nailed the song.”
“That’s right, it’s very obvious that he had been through a lot, or else he can’t bring out that sense of emotion.”
“Come, let us cheer for the chairperson!”
The cheers and applause went on non-stop.
Xiao Luo frowned. Now, as working adults climbing their way up the social ladder, everyone had changed so much since their university days. This was nothing more than a simple singing contest among friends, and yet they were already trying to flatter and bootlick their way around. The once simple and genuine friendship they had as classmates no longer existed.
After Guo Qinghe’s number, everyone looked at each other, checking if they had had their turn at the mic. It looked like they all had.
“Old Xiao hasn’t,” Zhang Dashan pointed out.
The crowd only realized that Xiao Luo had not sung after Zhang Dashan mentioned it.
“Xiao Luo, you don’t have a presence, it’s been like this since college times. How could you remain the same after three years.”
“That’s right, one must learn to change to adapt. If you’re too low-key, people won’t be able to discover your talents, and that’s not good.”
“I didn’t intend to lecture on you. I know, according to custom, it’s important to form a family first before you strive for a career. It has its virtues, but it has become redundant in our current society. Starting a family when young is a burden that would restrict you and weigh you down you. You’re the only one that has a child among us, right? It’s even more stressful with kids, and it’d make doing business harder.”
Most of them were giving Xiao Luo a lecture.
“You guys have gone too far, we’re talking about singing here.” Zhang Dashan was feeling annoyed and rolled his eyes.
“Exactly, we’re talking about singing. Xiao Luo is unfamiliar with socializing and has always remained too introverted. This doesn’t work if he wants to keep with today’s social values, especially when he lacks a presence. If you had not mentioned him, I’d have forgotten he ever came for this gathering.” A girl chimed.
Qin Guiyue rested her hands on her waist and said in a cold, sarcastic tone, “If I were him, I’d not have the courage to show up for this gathering too, let alone try to make my presence felt. Especially not after cheating on Mengqi and toying with her feelings, huh!”
When everyone heard it, they did accept that as truth, though they did not go for Xiao Luo like how Qin Guiyue did. Perhaps that explained why Xiao Luo had remained quiet throughout the gathering, he was clearly trying to stay low-key.
“Cough…You guys have gone way too far again!”
Guo Qinghe interjected with a cough and quickly changed the topic, “Xiao Luo, have you thought of what song to sing?”
Xiao Luo smiled, “Chairperson, I am forfeiting.”
“You’re forfeiting?” Guo Qinghe frowned.
“Yeah, I’m not good with singing, and I won’t want to be hurting your ears.” Xiao Luo nodded.