Southern Stories
Oct 22/13

Top 7 Rules for Karaoke Night Posted by: Dan | 0 Comments


Not sure about your town, but in these parts, there’s pretty much a karaoke machine in operation every night of the week.

It’s hardly something you set out to do, but it is a semi-legitimate form of entertainment. On the rankings of “fun activities,” karaoke lands somewhere between putt-putt golf and a toddler’s birthday party — both are much improved with alcohol. As someone who’s lived through many nights of awkward and awesome karaoke at her local bar — and even bombed behind the microphone a time or two — I’ve crafted a few general rules for karaoke night. These are more like guidelines. I’m not suggesting you practice or rehearse because karaoke should feel spontaneous — like a decision to drink fruit loop vodka. (C’mon. Nobody PLANS to drink fruit loop vodka!)

But with a little preparation, maybe we can improve the quality of karaoke nights around the country.

7. This is Not Your Shower
Choose your music for the crowd. You might be able to belt Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You,” and we are all very impressed, but it doesn’t mean you should. It’s self-serving, and everyone can tell. We’re here to have a good time. We’re not here for a concert. And we may holler and clap, but we’re mostly just glad you and your ego are all finished. (Haters gonna hate.)

6. Keep It Peppy
In that same vein, beer and Michael Buble don’t mix. You’re no crooner — although a well-chosen Sinatra ditty does have potential. The general idea is to keep things upbeat, danceable. Think the Madonna or something from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Those are always winners.

5. Bring Your Swagger
Most people have no trouble with this one. But if you DO pick something from Rocky Horror Picture Show, you better deliver. For the shy, car-singing types — me, included — pretend you’re Mick Jagger for a minute and blow their minds. Just let it go. Throw yourself into Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” — or even “Like a Virgin,” if you’re bold — because these people came for … a shot of tequila. Not a show, but since you’re on what might as well be a stage, don’t let them down.

4. Trial and Error
Some songs seem to pass all of the qualifications for a great karaoke selection, but for some reason or another, fall flat. One example of this is Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart.” It’s peppy, appealing, and could potentially pass the crowd test. But I’ve had no luck with it, and seen another singer bomb with it, too. The crowd reaction is lackluster, at best, and that’s a crying shame. But sometimes you don’t know until you try. But ladies, if you need to sing that song for you, go ahead. Screw those guys. Just don’t expect it to feel all “First Wives Club” in the bar. Hardly anyone will sympathize with your feelings.

3. Know Your Song
Do a little research. Make sure you know the lyrics before you turn in your song selection to the DJ. Confirm the song has no long musical interludes. Once I sang “Crazy on You” and stood around awkwardly for what felt like a 10-minute instrumental before I could finish the last chorus. That was a poor decision. Well, on second thought. It’s fine to sing “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, just go in with a plan for those ages and ages without singing — and it better be grand. Consider costume changes. You’ve got time.

2. Popularity is Popular
Your song should be recognizable, preferably a Top 40 single at some point in its lifetime. But, at the same time, not a song they sing every. damn. night. at the piano bar. We’re looking at you Journey, Tom Petty and “Piano Man.” Just don’t.

1. No Nickelback.
Nine out of 10 people with functioning eardrums agree. Never. Under any circumstances. Ever.

Did we forget anything? Tell us your most embarrassing/hardest-to-watch karaoke bar night story.



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