This seems unrelated to professional running. But it’s not because professional runners love karaoke. Plus, we are almost good at it.
The key to karaoke: Picking a good song.
I, personally, have a knack for picking the WORST songs. And therefore, I am an expert on knowing how not to pick a song. And therefore, because of the transitive property, I am an expert on how to pick a good karaoke song.
1. Know your song! Not just know part of it. Or just know it when it comes on the radio. Be able to sing it a cappella right now this second. Related note: Know the version of the song you are singing. Just because you know all the words to Gin and Juice because of that Gourd’s cover does not mean you can do a good Snoop Dog impression.
2. No instrumental breaks! There is nothing more terrifying than rocking out during a karaoke performance and looking up to your lifeline teleprompter, and it says “50 bar instrumental break” Interpretive dancing usually does not go over well. Example: "Dust in the Wind" Kansas
3. Female pop groups should be avoided. I too, love reminiscing about the days where we would get together and perform Wannabe for my Beanie Babies. “AND I KNOW all of the rap part by Scary Spice!” I would chime in. These memories are best left as memories. I don’t care how good of a Ginger Spice you are, 5 overly excited girls together singing Spice Girls sounds like a bunch of screaming chickens.
4. Alanis Morrisette should be avoided. She sings off key. You singing off key trying to imitate Alanis Morrisette singing off key sounds like you are on stage whining about your really bad cold. The same can be said for Katy Perry.
5. Michael Jackson warning. I get it. I love every song that has ever come out of MJ’s mouth. The problem: almost all Michael songs have a 2 minute segment consisting exclusively of “yeah!”s. And every MJ song come with an intense urge to dance like MJ. Newsflash. No one can dance like MJ except MJ. If you don’t believe me, film yourself dancing and watch it. You will be shocked at the difference between what you think you look like and what you actually look like. While background music can hide bad singing, it can’t drown out those bad dance skillz. That being said, I have seen a few good MJ performances. Usually by a man who clearly spent too much time practicing in the mirror.
6. “One Week” warning. You don’t know the words to Bare Naked Ladies “One Week.” Don’t try it.
7. Don’t pick YOUR favorite song. Just because it’s YOUR favorite, does not mean it is everyone else’s favorite. I’m looking at you, Arcade Fire fanatics.
8. “Don’t Stop Believin” must be timed perfectly. Think of it as the Queen of Spades in the game of Hearts. The queen secures victory if played perfectly. If mistimed, it will bite you. This is the song that should be sung and only be sung just before everyone gets too drunk to function as normal human beings. This is a trump song and guarantees success as long as it is not sung too early or too late. Everyone F’in loves Journey! If you are the second person to sing it during the night, you are a bad person and should be banned from karaoke.
Things that guarantee success:
1. Songs with a range of less than half an octave. These will make you sound like a profesh singer, no matter how bad you are. Everyone can sing Jingle Bells. Example: “Sweet Caroline” Neil Diamond
2. Songs the audience will sing along. Even the worst singer in church gets drowned out by the masses. The same is true for karaoke. Crowd participation covers up bad vocals! Example: “Country Roads” John Denver
3. One hit wonders are usually gold mines. Example: “Africa” Toto
4. The songs of the 80s were written for karaoke. They are easy to sing, promote crowd participation, are upbeat, and unite a group of drunk people like no other. Example: The Cure, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper.
5. Oldies are crowd pleasers. They don’t start the party quite like the 80s ditties, but everyone can sing along to a good ole Beatles jam.
1. Don’t scream in the mic. We can hear you fine.
2. The less people the better. You know what they say: 3’s a crowd.
3. Practice Practice Practice. In the mirror. In the shower. With a video camera. In the car. Really have no shame here.