Karaoke 101 / The Do’s and Don’ts

Karaoke can be a struggle… but it doesn’t have to be.


There are few things in life that give me more anxiety than singing in public.

(Wait, I take that back… tap-dancing in front of my cousins in obnoxiously sparkly costumes at family parties may actually be worse, but that’s a story for a different time. I digress.)

Me as a child.

That said, there is one type of environment in which I can sing my little heart out without fear of complete rejection. I’ll give you a hint: it involves late nights, beverages, friends, a whole lot of foolishness, and a microphone that sometimes shares the name with a body-rolling character played by Channing Tatum.

If you guessed karaoke, then ding-ding-ding, we have a winner!

Karaoke has somewhat recently become a favorite pastime of mine and my comrades. With the discovery of private videoke rooms a few years ago, some of my friends and I have learned that there are places where we can simultaneously squeeze in our obnoxious singing fix and act like complete fools outside the confines of our homes… and we’re hooked. But amidst all of the wackiness that comes with the karaoke experience, there are a few things one should know when picking the ideal karaoke song.

Here’s are a few guidelines I follow for selecting songs that tend to make my karaoke experiences a lot more enjoyable.


Not be by Celine, Mariah, Whitney, Bey, etc. Yes, it can be fun to pretend you’re a diva at first. But three key changes in, and you may think otherwise. #savethevocalchords

Beware of the Diva Key Change.

(… Unless it’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston.) This one’s just fun to jump around to and wail obnoxiously after a few drinks. (Just be sure to bail out before those dreaded key changes kick in.)

Be one that evokes childhood memories. This one kind of depends on the age range of the group you’re with, but chances are, if you’re out late in Ktown pounding shots of soju and renting private karaoke rooms, your group will have at least some crossover with familiar songs that came out on the radio in your youth. For me, this means a ton of songs from the ’90s and ’00s.

Anyone remember LFO?

Have cheesy, epic embellishments that you can play air guitar to. Because karaoke is always better with a little bit of the dramatics. “Bohemian Rhapsody” comes to mind.


Here are some solid karaoke songs that make it onto my regular rotation:

  • “Pony” by Ginuwine
  • “Kiss Me” by Six Pence None the Richer
  • “Summer Girls” by LFO
  • “Burn” by Usher
  • “Too Close” by Next
  • “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah
  • “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men
  • “Wannabe” by Spice Girls
  • “No Scrubs” by TLC
  • “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
  • “Back Here” by BBMak
  • “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal
  • “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire
  • “Santeria” by Sublime
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

Happy singing!



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