So you’re going to karaoke tonight. Awesome! Karaoke rules. I would do karaoke every night of my life if I could. Seriously. I would not mind being a karaoke DJ.
But wait! You actually want to be decent at karaoke, you say? You would rather captivate your audience of men drinking Budweiser and bachelorette parties instead of sending them outside or to the bathroom during your song? Good for you. If you wanna light up the karaoke bar, or at least not blunder through a cringeworthy three minutes, here are some tips.
1. Know your range. I’m an alto. This means I do not sing songs meant for sopranos. Boys are lucky in that they can sing falsetto, but girls can’t. That’s not fair.
2. If you must belt, do it from your lower abdomen, not your nose.
3. Please, don’t sing “Say My Name” or Spice Girls in a group of girls and just giggle drunkenly through the entire thing. Nobody likes you when you do this.
4. If your song has a rap break, be prepared for it. Do it yourself or find a friend who can do it. Don’t just stand there awkwardly. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself! You’re already at karaoke!
5. Have a list of a few songs you COULD do relatively easily if the mood strikes and/or your grandma is offering you $20 to sing just one song. Songs you always sing along with on the radio/know the words to/etc. My roommate always does “Lovefool” by the Cardigans.
6. Know your audience. Some songs are great on the radio but do not translate to the karaoke bar. “Telephone” by Lady Gaga and Beyonce is one, and “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani is another. Trust me, I’ve done them. Songs like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Like a Prayer” will always get people singing along. One of my standbys is “Baby One More Time,” because everyone will join in on the chorus. Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” is good too. Certain songs work better in certain locales.
7. “Single Ladies” is too hard for karaoke, unless you’re an amazing singer. Once a karaoke DJ played roulette with my group of friends and chose this for me. It was not good.
8. Don’t let your blackout drunk friend pick a song for you all to sing. This is how I once ended up stumbling through “Midnight Train to Georgia” at bar close while the DJ looked on in horror.
9. Think outside the box. I used to sing 100% Britney and Shania Twain, but lately I’ve been doing “Hurt So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp. It’s fun to sing something completely out of left field and unexpected.
10. Download a karaoke app and practice in your bathtub! Not that I know anyone who does this…(I have the Yokee app. It is SO FUN.)
11. But seriously, don’t sing with a group of girls. Five of you stumbling through whatever pop song is not cute. Limit it to a duet if absolutely necessary.
12. Have fun! Play with the microphone stand. Dance. Smile. Whip your hair. Be a little theatrical. People eat it up and you’ll feed off of their energy. Remember that scene in “Coyote Ugly” where Violet sings to the bar to calm them down? Channel that, as completely unrealistic as it is. Pretend you’re in your car with the windows down and your favorite song is on the radio. Who cares if you’re not the world’s best singer? If you’re having fun, people will respond to that. Karaoke is your chance to be a star for a few minutes, so relish it! Go forth, girl, and sing.