When it comes to Hollywood, Santa Barbara soul singer Ed Diamond is immersed in it on a daily basis. Not only does Diamond front the rhythm ‘n’ blues ensemble SoulBiscuit, he is also the limousine driver of choice for the stars when they come to town, chauffeuring the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson. But a few months back, it was Hollywood who sent the car for Diamond.
Having answered a casting call for NBC’s The Singing Bee, Diamond soon found himself at the network’s Los Angeles studios auditioning for the program. The Singing Bee is a half-hour weekly television show that challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular classics. The song starts and when the music stops the contestant needs to complete the next line. If they don’t perfectly hit the lyrical mark, they are out.
The first step for Diamond was a questionnaire where he had to complete song lyrics and explain his musical preferences. After romping through the first cut, he got the chance to sing. An a capella version of “Pink Cadillac” literally had the producers rocking before a rousing version of Barry White’s “Ecstasy” sealed the deal and sent him to the next taping. As he sat in the audience with the cameras rolling, the music stopped and he was handed the microphone-he completed the lyrics flawlessly, and became an official contestant. So how did the Santa Barbaran do?
“Let me just say that I didn’t embarrass myself,” hinted Diamond when questioned about the results of the episode, which was slated to air this week but past our deadline. “But I just thought, ‘Thank god I don’t do the Hollywood thing anymore because I couldn’t do those hours involved with shows like that!’ I’m just glad to play down on State Street at Rocks or up at the Cold Spring Tavern doing my little soul thing and then driving my limo around during the week. Hollywood ain’t for me!”
The Singing Bee is on NBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m.