No Boos is Good Boos

Audience dares contestants to meet expectations

Erick Johnson | 4/3/2014, 9 a.m.
It’s Friday night in Overtown. In the hallowed halls of historic Lyric Theatre, everyone is eagerly awaiting the next act. ...

It’s Friday night in Overtown.

In the hallowed halls of historic Lyric Theatre, everyone is eagerly awaiting the next act.

Enter Corenzo Matthews on the stage, wearing a short sleeve, turquoise-colored shirt and white pants. He’s lean and has a very short haircut. So far, his good looks have earned points with the ladies in the crowd.

But then he starts to sing “All of Me” from R&B singer John Legend. It did not go well.

As the Deep Fried Funk Band played the popular hit, Matthews sang off key about two minutes into the song.

The boos came and they were loud. The crowd yelled as some gestured their disapproval by waving their arms towards the door like windshield wipers. Suddenly, the Junkanoo Band, appeared and ushered Matthews off the stage while dancing to the tunes of their signature horns, bells and bazookas.

Then, Lyric Live host, emcee and master of comedy Chello Davis joins in on the fun to the delight of the crowds. Laughter erupts from the audience.

Then there was Rolando Albanzo, a contestant who attempted to sing “If I ever fall in love again,” a 1992 popular love ballad by the group Shai. Albanzo struggled from the start, but when he messed up a high note, that did it.”

He had to go. So the Junkanoos came out.

It’s a moment that has been become one a signature highlights of Live at the Lyric, the amateur talent night competition where contestants from all over Miami-Dade seek to impress critical crowds of ordinary folks to win $500 and a chance to be discovered in one of the oldest theaters in South Florida.

If contestants wow the audience, they will get a thunderous applause and possibly the crown, like defending Champion and Kendall resident Mailyn Cuadra who returns a third time this Friday seeking a three-peat.

But if contestants are bad. Uh oh. They are going to get.


In many social circles, this expression of displeasure is considered rude, undignified, and even a violation of what the French call etiquette. But at Lyric Live “booing” is fun. In fact, it’s desired. And fans express their discontent in various ways. Verbally is one of them, but many like pointing or waving to the door while others give a simple thumbs to cast their vote. But the toughest critics do everything to rid the stage of mediocrity.

To win the crowd’s support, fans say you just have to be good, especially if the song is a hit ballad by a famous artist like the late Whitney Houston.

Of course, it’s all lighthearted but fans of Lyric Live say voicing their displeasure is what makes the show appealing and liberating. They say its refreshing freedom you can’t find anywhere else, especially in formal settings like the Lyric. In addition to being liberating, fans say expressing displeasure is a healthy way of ‘keeping it real’ by doing what you feel or telling it like it is.