NBC’s Luke Russert and CNN’s Brianna Keilar won “Best Duet” for Livin’ on a Prayer

(All photos taken by FishbowlDC’s Matt Dornic.)

Milling about in a darkened upstairs barroom last night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, the mood amongst journalists was a low buzz of excitement. Some of Washington D.C. ‘s nerviest participants in the charity competition were there having pre-Karaoke drinks. They showed not even a trace of anxiety.

One such performer was CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer, all decked in cowboy attire and accompanied by a CBS reporter and correspondent, Kaylee Hartung. Schieffer was moments away from performing with his band, Honky Tonk Confidential. Asked if he was nervous, he laughed and replied, “I’m so bad I’m so past that. Anyone with as little talent as me is beyond being embarrassed.”

Peter Parisi, a TWT copy editor, was particularly chipper in his red gingham button-down and blue jeans. He told me he had performed Karaoke dozens of times and was more than ready for his performance. “Sonny and Cher. I Got You Babe,” he said, when asked what he’d form. “Cher had a previous engagement so I’m going to have to do this alone.”

Journalists soon moved downstairs to the stage area. In the crowd, but not performing was NJ “The Hotline’s” Executive Editor Reid Wilson, Politico‘s Natasha Lennard, The Hill‘s Tricia Barba , Susan Crabtree and Christina Wilkie, QGA and FishbowlDC’s Matt Dornic, Chicago Sun Times D.C. Bureau Chief and Politics Daily Flotus columnist Lynn Sweet, Washington Examiner’s Julie Mason, NJ‘s Matt Cooper and Major Garrett, CBS News’s Christine Delargy and CNN’s Abby Livingston. Upcoming performers included NBC’s Luke Russert (who knew he could sing?), Politico’s Shira Toeplitz, Slate‘s Dave Weigel (who knew he could, er, dance?), CNN’s Brianna Keilar, HuffPost contributor Stephanie Green (lovely voice), Washington Life‘s Michael Clements (borrowed Green’s long fur tiger print coat for the performance; one journo said he wears coats like that only to funerals) and TPM (but soon-to-be CQ-Roll Call‘s) Christina Bellantoni.

CNN Senior White House correspondent and “Dynamite” performer Ed Henry was spotted by the bar horsing around with his backup singer children, Patrick and Mila, prepping them for the big event. He admitted to some pre-performance jitters. “Covering the White House is easy compared to this,” he confided. “This is sink or swim.” But Henry persevered and won “Best in Show.” (See a complete list of performances, more photographs and award winners after the jump.)

Nerves or not, a decent-sized roster of journos soon took to the stage.

Amongst White House scribes, the competition grew tense over Twitter with lots of smack talk. One of those talkers was The Hill‘s White House correspondent Sam Youngman. Once on stage, the lights beamed on him and he looked utterly relieved.  “This is awesome, I can’t see any of you,” he told the crowd. He had planned to sing three short verses of “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” by Warren Zevon, but during the performance appeared surprised when the song seemed to stretch on so long. Still, he held his own, sang in tune and thankfully, unlike some of the other performers, didn’t try to hit any high notes.

Jaws dropped when…

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