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What is Karaoke Etiquette?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Many people enjoy the hobby of karaoke singing, a form of entertainment in which background vocals and lyrics are provided for soloists or groups. Karaoke, Japanese for "empty orchestra", is often featured in local bars or nightclubs as a means of attracting new customers and building up repeat business. With so many singers taking part in karaoke, a form of karaoke etiquette has emerged over time.

One rule of karaoke etiquette involves the selection of songs. It is not unusual for a regular karaoke singer to perform a certain number of signature songs throughout the evening, for instance. Karaoke etiquette suggests that other regular singers refrain from requesting those songs themselves. Deliberately performing another karaoke singer's signature or favorite songs is considered very bad form. The point of karaoke is to have fun, not to upstage another performer.

Criticism of fellow karaoke singers is also a point of karaoke etiquette. On any given night, the quality of singing is going to vary widely. Some people who have never sung publicly before in their lives may find the courage to perform in front of an appreciative audience. Heckling or derisive comments during a song are considered to be poor karaoke etiquette.

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Whenever possible, attention should be given to the performer as a sign of encouragement. Polite applause is always a good idea. First-time singers often appreciate words of encouragement from veteran performers.

Another rule of karaoke etiquette is always to respect the karaoke host. A karaoke host's job is to encourage participation and build up an environment of fun and excitement. Customers who bring dozens of song requests at one time or insist on a specific singing order demonstrate poor karaoke etiquette skills.

There may be times during an evening that singers are bumped out of order to accommodate new performers. Song requests may become lost in a shuffle. The wrong song may start or a microphone may malfunction. The proper thing to do is to allow the karaoke host to fix the problem without undue criticism.

Proper karaoke etiquette is not likely to be listed in the song selection books or posted on the wall of a karaoke club, but veteran karaoke singers usually learn the best way to handle certain situations. Karaoke etiquette is often a case of respecting each other's personal space and making newcomers feel welcome.

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anon183879
Post 6

When it comes to karaoke hosts, one important rule of etiquette is to be fair with the rotation of singers. There is no perfect way of incorporating new and established singers into the line-up, but some methods are more fair than others. Some karaoke hosts will allow the same handful of singers to sing over and over again as long as they are forming new "duets" or groups. I say the KJ should only allow multiple singers if the song is an actual duet and both parties are actually singing.

Another bad practice by some karaoke host is favoritism. Instead of calling singers in order of requests, they will cherry pick the more popular or attractive performers in order to

please the crowd. I have also seen KJs treat singers like DJs treat records. If the audience is still moving after an upbeat song, the next singer will be skipped if he or she happens to choose a slower song. In fact, I have seen a few karaoke bars with signs that read, "No slow songs after 9 p.m."
anon135592
Post 5

Don't forget to consume at the bar where you are.

there are also veteran singers who drink a glass of water and bug the heck out of the host.

And people, be courteous. Leave a dollar tip for the host. Remember CDs cost $10 each, and when you have 70,000 songs in your catalog, it gets costly.

anon84308
Post 4

what about the etiquette rules for a karaoke host?

madambee
Post 3

How do I politely tell my sister-in-law to put the mike down, and let some one else have a turn. She sings anything and everything and will not stop. She is totally tone deaf and it has gotten to the point that we don't want to karaoke any more. She will sing 3 hours straight and never get tired. She is so bad. Help.

hanksonic
Post 2

I think as a people who take the microphone should think about others. Don't just keep the microphone for a long time and sing. Give a chance to other partner. I have been a party of my former company, that was a girl always grasping the microphone. Any body there expressed disgust.

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