Great-grandma + Rob Zombie song + Fargo karaoke night = 2.2M views on TikTok
The video shot by Forum reporter April Baumgarten and posted to her TikTok page has been viewed more than 2.2 million times.
FARGO — An older woman’s karaoke rendition of a heavy metal Rob Zombie song at a Fargo bar is burning up the social media platform TikTok.
Seen by fewer than 40 people in person at Troll Lounge in the Sons of Norway Lodge on Thursday, March 17, the performance has since been viewed more than 2.2 million times worldwide.
“Seeing that many views floored me,” Baumgarten said.
The “grandma” in question is 76-year-old Judy Wanek from Breckenridge, Minnesota, who has two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
She loves to sing karaoke and comes to Fargo to do so whenever her friend is up for the near hour-long drive.
Wanek has sung at Troll Lounge and The Bowler in Fargo before, but has never been the star of anything that’s gone viral.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Wanek said from her home in Breckenridge. When family members told her she’d gone viral, her reaction was “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
In addition to 2 million plus views, the video has garnered more than 353,000 likes, more than 80,000 shares and more than 10,000 comments.
“This is the old person I aspire to be,” “I hope I’m this cool when I’m her age,” and “When’s she going on tour?” are a few of the comments.
Some people in the TikTok comments section took issue with the spectators, saying they didn't appear enthusiastic enough.
However, what they saw was only a 40 second clip of Wanek's performance and crowd reaction. The crowd actually convinced her to sing the song twice and she was greeted with raucous applause each time.
For the record, Wanek has never been to a Rob Zombie concert. In fact, she was only introduced to his music via karaoke.
She’d heard someone else sing the song “Dragula” one night and immediately liked the song and the beat. When she got home that night, she told herself, “I bet if I tried, I could do it,” she said.
Her viral performance came during an event called Pepper’s Karaoke, held the third Thursday of each month at Troll Lounge.
Baumgarten was waiting for her own turn to sing when she heard the silver-haired woman would sing “Dragula” in front of the mostly older crowd.
“I thought, ‘This might be interesting,’” Baumgarten said.
When Wanek began to sing, everyone in the bar turned around.
The song is said to be based on the drag racer “DRAG-U-LA” from "The Munsters" sitcom. The lyrics, from the album "Hellbilly Deluxe" released in 1998, are pretty heavy.
“Dead I am the rat, feast upon the cat. Tender is the fur, dying as you purr. Dig through the ditches and burn through the witches, I slam in the back of my Dragula,” Wanek belted out that night.
Baumgarten complimented her on her performance afterward and Wanek bought her a drink, she said.
Wanek said she’s often encouraged by people younger than her to get up and sing, and that song, in particular.
“I love young people. Maybe it’s because I don't want to get old,” Wanek said with a laugh.
Baumgarten posted the video to TikTok that night, thinking it would get some views.
By the next morning, it had already been seen more than 400,000 times, and over the weekend, it exploded, she said.
"It makes me kind of sad I'm getting all the views … when she’s the one who’s doing the singing,” Baumgarten said.