Getting Over Your Fear of Karaoke

Why is karaoke so scary? -- The World Is Watching

Only a karaoke virgin would ask that! Karaoke's not that bad, I swear. You eventually just pop your cherry and learn to enjoy it. Actually, karaoke can be a lot like sex.

  • You build up the experience in your mind before ever attempting the act.
  • You want to throw up if you do it with the wrong person.
  • It's over in just a few minutes.
  • You smile awkwardly afterwards as you wonder, "Is that all there is to it?"

You're only afraid now because you know that other people will be watching and sharing your new experience -- which, yeah, sounds vaguely creepy. Absolutely, karaoke can be unpolished and painful at first. But if you slut it up enough times, you'll eventually reach that big "O" moment -- the high of doing something that's meaningful to you and the realization that you want even more of this thing you're now good at. Even better: people will want you to do with with them. Score!

How safe is it to sing a country song during karaoke? -- Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

It's perfectly safe -- at certain bars, that is. At others, you're going to get dirty looks and possibly broken limbs if you attempt anything other than the status quo.

If you're a genre singer -- be it country, showtunes or, yes, TV theme songs -- I think it's especially important for you to scope out a karaoke joint's character before performing there. Sure, most bars happily welcome a mix of tunes, from "Nights in White Satin" to "The Thunder Rolls." But knowing your audience, especially in a new place, can be a lifesaver. Imagine the looks -- or worse -- you'd get if you sang "The Piano Has Been Drinking" in a place where it's not unusual for the clientele to wear spiked collars and leather hats.

Like Ferris Bueller once said, "You don't want this much heat."

As a Friday-night karaoke host at a South County bar, Allison Babka receives her share of drunken song dedications, occasionally makes people cry and even has been glorified by a singing psychic. She's considering adding "Call Me Maybe" to her personal karaoke repertoire, and she hates herself for it. Bug her with karaoke nonsense on Twitter at @ambabka, and use #rftkaraoke.

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