Karaoke Advice: Beyonce, Queen & Meatloaf

Regular karaoke singer Lindsey Weber has developed very strong opinions about what constitutes the proper etiquette of karaoke–everything from song choice to mic-handling technique. Her opinions (while regarded trustworthy by some of the greatest karaoke’ers in town) are her own, so feel free to disregard. After all, if you’re just dying to sing “Don’t Stop Believin’”* you’ll probably just go ahead and sing it. Send your karaoke questions for Lindsey to karaokeconfessional AT gmail.com.

While in one of those tiny karaoke rooms waiting for our friends to arrive we selected a couple Beyonce songs to start off the rotation thinking, we sing along to Beyonce all of the time so a little Beyonce karaoke should be a snap. WRONG! We were all flustered…forgetting the melody and unable to keep up with B’s pace. We tried Check On it–too fast. We tried Ego–it was painful. And finally we tried Countdown–what were we thinking? Can you suggest a fairly easy Beyonce song OR should Queen Bey not be messed with on the karaoke stage??

All my BEYst,

Eileen! You’ve hit upon something myself and my friends have been struggling with for YEARS. With hit after hit, Beyoncé’s songs because almost less and less….singable (by karaoke standards.) To even attempt any recent Bey singles (“Countdown”, “Love on Top”, “Countdown”, “I Am Here”, etc.) you have to have some serious chops OR go in knowing what you’re in for. A friend of mine actually used to call the sensation of wanting to sing a song against all better judgement, going up to do it, and failing miserable: “Beyoncéing” — I swear to God.

I’m not saying you should stay away from Bey all together, but have you considered the work of Destiny’s Child? Both “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name” are totally doable–and can even appropriately be made into duets or triplets(?), if you and your friends agree not all scream over each other. For some out-of-the-box choices, maybe try “Jumpin’” or to really get some true fans excited: “Cater 2 U” (a personal favorite I have yet to try…)

That isn’t to say newer Beyoncé is completely off limits. If you and your friends were already in a tiny room, who is to say you all can’t go at the Bey collection head first? I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that just the other week I took advantage of a rare hour in a room to (soulfully!) screech “I Was Here” to the dismay of my friends. You know what? It was awesome. I needed it.

Here’s a good list of Beyoncé to try: “Irreplaceable” (the crowd will love this), “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” (surprisingly fun and easy to do), and “Halo” (okay, this one’s tough but SO FUN to do.)

Do you think certain songs are karaoke faux pas? I’m looking at you, Paradise By the Dashboard Lights. I feel like some songs are just so loooooong that, unless the singer is known to be very very entertaining, people will hear the opening bars and decide it’s a good time to go pee/smoke/make a phone call/etc. –Laura

This is a tough one, because as a human I want people to sing whatever they so please. But as a karaoke advice columnist (this is my JOB now, people!) I have to agree with you on the long song banning. We’re all there to enjoy ourselves, but essentially a karaoke bar is a line. We’re all in line to sing. To me, it’s not fair to knowingly step up to the mic and proceed to sing not only a song repeated endless in karaoke bars across the country, but one that you also know is 5+ minutes long. The are plenty of “Bohemian Rhapsody” alternatives, I assure you.

Speaking of! Laura, you aren’t alone…

What are your thoughts on singing songs that are over 5+ minutes long? There are a few crowd-pleasers that seem to sustain the room’s interest, but for the most part long songs seem selfish. While you’re warbling through the last three verses of “American Pie,” I could be blazing through “Crocodile Rock!”

In my experience, the worst offenders are “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and — even though it’s under five minutes, it still takes an eternity to get through for some reason — “Killing Me Softly.” Any others? –Burton

Burton and Laura both make completely understandable pleas. Not only are these songs unbearable karaoke clichés, they’re unbearable karaoke clichés that GO ON FOR 5+ MINUTES. Burton hits the worst offenders on the head, but he’s left out a few that always make me wish I had a smoking habit (so I could leave the bar): “Thriller”, “Piano Man”, “November Rain”, and “Rapper’s Delight.”

And you know why “Killing Me Softly” feels like it takes forever? Because most people want to sing The Fugees version and get the original Roberta Flack one instead—which always leads to disaster.

Karaoke Advice: KPop, Dancing, & Drinking While Singing