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Published January 31 2013

Benshoof: And your next Fargo Star is ... not me; Fargo Star voting begins Monday

Coming Monday: Online voting for the 2013 Fargo Star starts. Also read Monday’s Variety section where we’ll catch up with Taylor Wall, last year’s Fargo Star winner, to see what’s new and what advice she has for this year’s hopefuls

FARGO – Just so there’s no confusion here: I’m no singer. Never have been and never will be.

I’ve never taken lessons, but I doubt that that would help me improve. Like Russell Crowe in “Les Misérables,” my lines are best delivered spoken, not sung.

Despite my lack of talent, I – or rather, my editor – decided this week that I should audition for Fargo Star, The Forum’s annual singing competition.

Dozens of area singers have been fine-tuning their songs for submission to the contest, and it’s no easy task. They’re putting their pride on the line as they display their talents for the entire online world to see.

To recognize the time and effort they put into their submissions, we thought it would be good for me to see for myself what that process is like.

But before I did, I got some advice from last year’s Fargo Star, 18-year-old Taylor Wall, who I profile Monday in Variety.

She told me the most important thing is not to get nervous. If you let your nerves overwhelm you, then your performance suffers.

Just go out there and do your best, she said. Whether you advance in the contest or not, just have fun with the experience.

Finally, “you should pick a song that represents you and brings out the best qualities of your voice,” Wall told me.

Given my lack of talent, though, that’s a problem. There’s not a single song out there that I’d actually be comfortable singing.

William Shatner isn’t a singer either. Yet his spoken-word rendition of “Rocket Man” has millions of views on YouTube.

So I forged ahead and found a song that I think represents me pretty well – “I Fought the Law,” by The Clash. The lyrics just speak to me.

As for it bringing out the best qualities of my voice, that’s another matter.

With the song in hand, I figured it’d be a piece of cake to record and call it a day. I’ve done some public speaking over the years, so I thought nerves wouldn’t be a problem for me.

Turns out that’s not the case. It was still plenty disconcerting for me to put my face and my, ahem, talents out there not knowing how many people might view the video. If I didn’t get my performance right, it’d be embarrassing.

Actually, I’m sure I embarrassed myself regardless. I’ve seen some of the submissions for this year’s contest, and there’s some serious talent out there.

And here’s the crazy thing – they’re actually singing.

So I would guess I won’t be getting your vote to be the next Fargo Star. There are singers out there who are much more deserving and talented.

But that’s just fine with me – to paraphrase “Casablanca,” this is one Sam who doesn’t plan on playing it again.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535