What Is Even the Point of Karaoke, Anyway?

Have you ever called anyone up to sing that cried or freaked out once they were on stage? -- Freak Scene

You're probably hoping for a hilarious story about a terrified drunk lady who walks up to the mic, bursts into tears and screams "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME DO IT!" before slipping on beer-stained floors as she runs to the restroom.

Unfortunately, my tales aren't quite as messy as that. Not for this question, anyway.

But I've had plenty of people, uh, hesitate before taking the mic. Yes, they're often inebriated. It usually goes something like this:

Me [to audience]: Let's welcome Susie to the mic!

[Audience applauds for 10 seconds. Then silence.]

Me: I said Susie! Susie, come on down!

[Silence. Confusion.]

[15 seconds later] Susie [obviously intoxicated]: What am I thinging?

Me: Uh, "Single Ladies."

Susie: No! No, I'm not thinging THAT!

Me: But... that's the song you gave me.

[Susie clops up to my station, breathing Bud Light Lime into my face as she looks over my shoulder at my computer.]

Susie [loudly and drunkenly]: WHY CAN'T I THING?

Me [frantically loading a video to fill the silence and appease the audience]: Um, you can sing. What do you want to do?

Susie: "THOOP!"

Me [sighing]: Ok, let me get it for you.

Susie [to her friend]: DONNA! HEY DONNA! I'M GONNA THING "THOOP!" I DON'T WANNA SING BY MYTHELF! DON'T MAKE ME THING BY MYTHELF!

Donna: Sing it your damn self. I'm not goin' up there.

Susie: WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY?

Donna: I SAID SING IT YOUR DAMN SELF!

Susie: WHAT? [Clops over to Donna, sits down, drools.]

Me: Ooooookayyyyyy [giving up]. John! Let's welcome John up here, everyone!

[Audience applauds. John walks toward the mic.]

Susie: HEY! WAIT! I'M THINGING "THOOP!"

[Repeat scene twice. Commence headache.]

As an in-demand karaoke host at many bars and events, Allison Babka receives her share of drunken song dedications, occasionally makes people cry and even has been glorified by a singing psychic. She sings entirely too many Miley Cyrus songs, and she hates herself for it. Bug her with karaoke nonsense on Twitter at @ambabka, and use #rftkaraoke.

Follow RFT Music on Twitter or Facebook. But go with Twitter. Facebook blows.

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4 comments
grandhighjman
grandhighjman

I find that doing a pitch-perfect rendition of "Hey Hey What Can I Do" while dressed as Homestar Runner tends to get a positive reaction from a karaoke audience. But everyone needs to find their own thing, really...also, that was on Halloween, so I probably won't wear the costume again.

MichellePar
MichellePar

What is the point of karaoke?  Really?  I read an interesting article recently that I think applies.  We live in a world where we are so connected, that we know who all the world 'bests' are.  We know who the famous people are that are amazing at what they do, and were also lucky enough (because no matter how good you are, or how determined, there is an element of luck involved) to make it.  We DON'T, however, know who are local 'bests' are, and too many of us are comparing them to the world bests.  "Best looking girl in town?  She's no Miss America."  How fair is that?  How reasonable is that?  Karaoke is one of those rare endeavors that brings back the idea of the local expert, at least for a few minutes.  I, for one, think that is something to celebrate.

allison.babka
allison.babka topcommenter

@MichellePar That's a good notion. I kind of like the idea that instead of comparing a local singer's voice to Beyonce's, someone might say "She sings fine, but she's nothing like the dame who belted out 'The Rose' at Johnny's Bar last week." 

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