Ah, karaoke. While certainly one of the most ingenious means of entertainment, karaoke can be an insufferable experience when your friends don’t adhere to the unspoken rules of KTV. Like any social activity, there’s a right way to do KTV – and then there’s a wrong way to do it. And we don’t just mean singing badly, either.
So after years of pulling all-nighters belting out NSYNC and the Bee Gees’ greatest hits among friends, we’ve compiled a set of do’s and don’ts for making out the most out of KTV. Read on and see if you agree.
1. Don’t attempt rapping unless you actually know how to rap
The only thing more hilarious than listening to someone warble through “The Greatest Love of All” is watching someone with a voice like molasses choke his way through a popular rap song. It’s not fun for the other participants either. We can carry you through Whitney Houston when your voice starts to crack, but there’s no way we can mimic Nicki Minaj without getting tongue twisted.
2. If you’ve got it, flaunt it – but know when to stop
We’ve all got at least one friend with an amazing voice. If that’s you, then don’t be shy. Now is your time to shine! Everyone’s just waiting for you to sing Mariah Carey’s “Hero” anyway, so what’s the hesitation? At the same time, this is KTV, not an audition for the X-Factor, so do your thing but don’t it as an opportunity to hog the limelight. Let others have a turn and don’t laugh too hard when they start singing off-key.
3. Pass the microphone
One of the most annoying things about karaoke machines is most of them don’t let you control the order of the songs. So even if your songs come up five times in a row, have the courtesy to either skip them or to let somebody else have a turn. Nobody wants to hear you crooning super emotional Mandopop ballads for half an hour.
4. Don’t sing too many songs in a foreign language that no one else understands
Gauge your company of friends. If the majority of them can sing in Korean or can at least appreciate Kpop, then by all means, spend the next three hours belting out Super Junior’s entire discography. On the other hand, if everyone else in your group can only sing songs in English, then you might want to limit your Kpop songs to one, as it’ll get really boring for everyone else after that.
5. Don’t skip the song unless the person singing says it’s okay
While we understand the panic of having only 20 minutes left to sing the 30 songs left on your playlist, it’s common courtesy to let the person who’s singing finish their song. If that person’s a pro, they’ll sing half of it and then skip it themselves.
6. Do pick corny songs that everyone knows
Look, now is not the time to be a hipster by showing off your taste in obscure, intelligent indie music. You need to be a little more of a populist. Think for your audience and pick something fun. Here are our suggestions:
The classics: Hanson, The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Westlife, Wonder Girls, “Tong Hua,”…the cornier, the better.
Cheesy top 40s: Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, stuff you’d hear hundreds of times on the radio while on a long drive.
Disney songs: “A Whole New World” is a MUST at every karaoke gathering.
7. Avoid baby-making music
At the risk of sounding like your conservative grandparents, we’ve got to point out how awkward it is when people sing overtly sexual songs at karaoke. Something that alludes to it vaguely, like “Baby One More Time” is fine, but we don’t give the others a reason to avoid sitting next to you on the couch once you’re finished.
8. Don’t dedicate breakup ballads to your ex-girlfriends
Look, we love sad Jay Chou ballads as much as anyone else does, but there’s only so much emo-ness we can take before the night devolves into a therapy circle. Karaoke is supposed to be fun – you will just make things awkward for everyone if you preface your sappy breakup ballad with “This is a song that reminds me of [ex’s name].” That might seem ridiculous, but we’ve seen it enough times to know that it’s an epidemic among overly sentimental adults.
The more flamboyant you are, the better. What’s the point of singing “Gangnam Style” or “Single Ladies” without doing the dance? And if you’re singing something really sappy, like Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”, you can make your performance extra affecting by flailing around like a diva.
10. Commit to the song
Finally, we’ve arrived at the most important rule of all. You’ve got to own your performance. When you’re in control of the microphone, anything can be epic. Sing with every emotion you cast muster. Throw yourself on the floor if the song demands it. Dance. Exaggerate. Invite your friends to join in. And above all else, have fun.