Karaoke Etiquette 401

In the 7 years I’ve been going out to karaoke at a couple lounges and bars I can honestly say that it’s not always the most fun thing to do on a free night. Music is overly loud, not set up right. Bartenders voice their opinions and lament about participants to other patrons. Customers grumble about tone-deaf crooners.

Why I do I put up with it? For the sheer love of singing, of course, and a desire to have a taste of performing on stage. Okay, I don’t really do a whole lot of any performing, until after I’ve had a few drinks.

I’ve been wanting to make a list of all the things that people do that drive me crazy. Including with some karaoke hosts. I’ve never hosted karaoke, so I’m not going to get into too much technical stuff. However there are somethings that are just a big NOPE.

Let’s get on with it:

Karaoke Hosting ‘do’s and don’ts’ (Really? Shouldn’t they know better?):

  1. Do not make a production of rules before starting.
  2. Do help singers. Don’t leave them high and dry just because the song is not the one they were thinking of.
  3. Don’t add the songs original vocals overtop of the participants vocals. Even if they have less than desired voice quality. It’s just rude.
  4. Do ASK singers if they need help with a sing. Don’t barge in unexpectedly.
  5. Do invite your own friends and include other participants into your circle. Don’t turn it into an elitist event.
  6. Stop bumping singers just because it’s someone’s fake birthday.
  7. Don’t allow someone to show up another singer by letting them sing the same song as the other person.
  8. Please be attentive and maintain a good ear. Adjust the sound system to tailor the singers voice level.
  9. Please, PLEASE turn the music down just a bit. My ears should not be buzzing, ringing or hear distortion from the music by midnight.

For the rest of us:

  1. Don’t heckle. Think you can do better? Get up there.
  2. Clap for everyone. Even if they sounded like a monotone computer or a cat being thrown into a dog fight.
  3. Don’t slobber on the mike. If the mike is too low, ask the host to turn it up.
  4. Don’t talk close around the singer. The place I go to has no stage and I’ve had people group around right beside me, and talk very loudly. So rude.
  5. Don’t grab the mike out of someone’s hand. And don’t grab the extra one and jump in unless you’re invited.
  6. If you’re going to  agree to do a duet with someone then mean it. Don’t take off the moment your partner gets up there.
  7. Don’t show up people. If you think you can do better at opera then pick another song. Or better yet, save your voice and book a recording studio.
  8. Don’t judge and give unsolicited advice. You’re not a licensed vocal coach so don’t act like it. And, no one is singing to impress strangers. It’s all for the fun of it and to impress and my pals.
  9. Don’t hog the mike, unless the place is dead.
  10. Don’t shout loud in the mike. There is a difference between reaching higher notes and outright shouting. Plus, some of these places are so small there is no need to go loud at all. Imagine a fire pit that is between you and the audience and you are just crooning to a song with everyone listening contently.
  11. Mind what you say in the mike. No one wants to hear you have an STD. Even if you’re joking.

I think that should do it for now.

Karaoke is fun. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s not a contest, unless you enter a contest.


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