How to be Amazing at Karaoke! (Hint: it has nothing to do with your singing ability)
How to be Amazing at Karaoke!
(Hint: it has nothing to do with your singing ability)
Karaoke is an amazingly fun and empowering thing to do, yet it’s also one of the most terrifying things to actually get yourself to do. It should actually be called “Scareyoke”. You’re up there, completely vulnerable, exposing yourself to be judged by all your friends. And strangers. And lots and lots of drunk people.
When I ask why people don’t want to get up and sing, the answer is always the same, and it surprised me. It’s never “I get stage fright”. Instead, it’s always, “I have a terrible singing voice”.
Let me fill you in on a little secret. Great karaoke has NOTHING to do with singing voice or ability, and EVERYTHING to do with choosing the right song that the crowd wants to hear at the given moment.
Never let being afraid of your voice stop you from participating in karaoke. It’s fun, the crowd is supportive, and at the very least, we’ll all get to hear a great song. The spirit of karaoke has never been hung up on having a good voice, and don’t let American Idol let you think otherwise. It’s about having a good time.
Here’s some facts you may not know about doing karaoke that can help you pick the right song for the right time, and in doing so, can make sure that everyone has a good time!
1. The Karaoke host probably has about 10,000 more songs that AREN’T listed in those little books. You’ve seen the “Recently updated” page in those books, right? With all those songs from 2003? There’s no way the karaoke host can print out a new piece of paper for every new song they get. They are getting new songs every day. They HAVE to remain competitive otherwise the establishment will find someone else.
Your best bet, if you have a song in mind, is to go up and ask the host if they have a particular song. They can look it up for you. Don’t get hung up on those little slips and making sure you have the right song number. Just. Ask.
2. On that note, the absolute best time to approach the karaoke host with a question is when someone else is singing. In between songs, they are frantically queuing up the next song and making sure the next singer is ready to go to keep the party started. Don’t approach at that moment - they’ll mistake you for the next singer they’ve just called up, or you could just end up getting in their way.
It’s perfectly OK to go up to the host while someone is singing. Just make sure you don’t cross or stand in front of the lyrics so the singer can’t see them.
3. Your chosen song is not written in stone. Here’s where the REAL karaoke magic happens and can change would COULD have been a ho-hum performance into blasting you into the karaoke galaxy of legends hall of fame.
Yes, you can go up to the karaoke host at the very last minute and change your song.
Here’s when it’s a good idea: Depending on the amount of people that want to sing that night, you could turn your song request in and face hours of waiting time. A lot can happen in those hours. People get drunk. People want to dance. The atmosphere vibe shifts. People may be tired of loud songs and winding down.
Remember when I said that great karaoke is all about picking the right song for what the crowd wants to hear at the given moment? You have to be aware of the atmosphere, as the given moment vibe changes frequently.
Are they still eating dinner? Is the crowd dancing? Are they very subdued? Are they singing along to everything? Are they happy?
This would be when I’ve changed my previous request of the somber Evanescence’s “My Immortal” over to the more upbeat “Walking on Sunshine”. However, at the beginning of the night, especially if people are still eating dinner at the establishment, a more mellow song would certainly be appreciated when people are listening rather than dancing.
4. Be courteous about song length when karaoke is almost over for the night. At the end of the night, there’s probably a very long line of people waiting to get up on stage and sing (it’s amazing what some liquid courage can do) and the host is trying their best to make sure everyone can get up there. Remembering that you can indeed change your song at the last minute, think about how long your song choice is.
If it’s the end of the night and there’s a long line, it’s not a good time for “Thriller”, or any song that heavily repeats itself at the end, or has a long solo. This way, you’ll do your part to make sure everyone has a chance to get up there.
So remember, to be a karaoke star, pay attention to the mood of the room. Have a mellow song and a fast song in your mind ready to go. When someone’s up there singing, walk up and talk to the karaoke host about a song you want to sing. They want everyone to have a good time just as much as you do.