10 Tips for Karaoke-rs
Tip #1: Know Your Voice – If you know you can’t hit the high notes, don’t sing songs by Queen. If your voice gets all weird with the low notes, don’t sing Barry White songs. Know what your voice is capable of and choose a song accordingly. Midway through a song is an embarrassing place to find out that you’re not Adele.
Tip #2: Avoid Songs with Guitar Solos/Long Pauses – So you’ve chosen a song that has about 2 or 3 long guitar solos. When those solos kick in, what do you plan on doing? No idea? Yeah, me neither. Unless you have something planned like doing a little dance or warming up the crowd with some interaction (“WHASSUP, CLEVELAND!!!!!!!”), you should just avoid guitar solos and long instrumentals altogether. It’s just gonna be you standing around, waiting for your turn to sing while people stare at you and that’s an awkwardness that alcohol can’t wash away.
Tip #3: Stick with Shorter Songs, Unless you can SERIOUSLY Deliver! – Don’t sing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Summer Lovin’ ” or anything by Pink Floyd, unless you KNOW that everybody’s into it and you won’t get bored with the song halfway through. Remember that there are other people just itching to rock the mic. Don’t be the guy that hogs the spotlight singing a half-assed version of “Dead or Alive,” because the next singer will definitely want you dead (*stops for applause for clever writing*).
Rule #4: Be Creative with Your Song Choice – If you’re like me, you’ll roll your eyes and excuse yourself to go to the bathroom whenever someone starts to sing “Sweet Caroline” or “Don’t Stop Believin’.” It’s not that they aren’t great songs, it’s just that in the world of karaoke they’ve been done to death. It’s almost cliché how often these songs get sung. Separate yourself from the rest by choosing a song that people forgot how awesome it was until you reminded them with your melodious tones! You’ll get an “A” for originality while still keeping the party going.
Tip #5: Know the Songs, Not Just the Chorus – When you go up to sing, you have to remember that you’re going to be singing THE WHOLE SONG. Not just the one part that you know really well because you hear it on the radio a whole lot. If you know the entire song, you can give a much better and nuanced performance. Heck, you can even do a little improving on the song and work the crowd into a frenzy! I’m not saying you have to have it memorized, but when you know the song well enough that you don’t even have to look at the screen, it loosens you up and steps your karaoke skillz, with a “z,” up a notch!
Tip #6: Avoid Obscure Songs – You may feel the need to choose a song that’s a B-side on an album that nobody’s heard of, but you’re SURE will totally rock. You may want to enlighten the masses with a song that they probably won’t know but you like, and that’s all that matters because you’re the birthday boy and if they don’t know “Uncontrollable Urge” by Devo, then they can go SUCK IT … um … for example. Well, you can sing that if you want to but when you sing an obscure song, just remember that everybody else won’t know it, thereby leaving that awkward silence we discussed in Rule #2. Remember that?! Singing an awkward song is like telling an inside joke to an audience. You might be amused, but you’ll alienate others and make the next singer all impatient. Not cool, bro … not cool.
Tip #7: Know Your Audience – Nickelback songs may not be the best song to sing in a room full of hipsters (unless you’re doing it ironically). Megadeath may not be the best song to sing in a room full of teenage girls. You can always say “screw ’em” and sing these songs if you like, but a TRUE karaoke champ will size up the room and choose a song that’ll get the people going. You should always choose a song that both you and the audience will like. That’s a win/win, baby pop!!
Tip #8: Clap for Everybody – This one is pretty simple. Just clap for all the people who have the cojones to sing their hearts out in front of a room of strangers. It’s just good form, people. You weren’t raised in a barn….unless you were, in which case, I apologize if you were offended by the previous comment.
Tip #9: Booze, Booze, Booze – It’s been said that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time and while that may be true (hard drugs are just as good), it’s not quite the case in karaoke. Liquored up karaoke is better than sober karaoke. That’s just science! It’ll bring out the showman in you that you never knew was there. So order a round of shots, make sure your designated driver is good to pour you into a car at the end of the night and sing, baby, sing…...oh and drink responsibly!
Tip # 10: Have Fun! – I couldn’t think of a tenth rule, so I threw this generic one in here, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t take karaoke too seriously. Have fun with it! At the end of the day, you’re just a drunk singing into a microphone, not auditioning for Idol. (Ed.Note: This rule does not apply if you’re in The Philippines . Seriously, don’t be a hero.)
If you think of additional Tips that I didn’t cover, please feel free to add them in the comments section, I would love to read your thoughts! I will say though that if you follow the aforementioned Tips, I guaran-damned-TEE that you’ll be the belle of the ball at any karaoke party you go to. So, keep it funky fresh, homeslice and rock the mic ’til the break-a, break-a dawn.