Karaoke means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The amount of preparation and planning that go into each person’s performance could vary from a few minutes to a few weeks. No matter where you land on the spectrum there are certain people that you are certainly going to see and make fun of at the karaoke bar. These are those people.
1. THE ONE THAT BIT OFF MORE THAN HE COULD CHEW
There’s a big difference between a song that you like and a song that you can actually perform at karaoke. Turns out there are more words to that song you love than just the chorus and you’re finding that out at a very inopportune time. “Monkey Wrench” by the Foo Fighters is great on paper, but when you’re halfway through the bridge, doubled over, completely out of breath with those cheese fries bubbling up in your throat, you’ll think otherwise. Stick to what you know, like anything off the Little Mermaid soundtrack.
2. THE “THIS IS ONLY FUNNY TO US” PERFORMER
We all know them and we all dislike them. They might have come with a large group, but it was probably just one or two other friends. They’re using this opportunity to get on stage and giggle the whole time. “Haha isn’t this so hilarious? Look how I’m just so cute laughing the entire time haha oh I’m adorable.” The problem is, to everyone besides that small group, it’s completely obnoxious and totally kills the mood of the room. You don’t deserve an applause after that one. In fact, all of your drinks from now on cost double.
3. THE VOICE MAKESHIFT AUDITION
Karaoke isn’t just a hobby to this power ballad vocalist. This is their moment to shine…in front of a few dozen highly intoxicated strangers… on a Wednesday night… in a dimly lit Midwestern bar. They’re certain that the ghost of Whitney Houston that has now become a powerful record label exec has wandered into the building and this is their 8 Mile moment. They’re probably dressed for the part as well. What does that mean? When you see it, you’ll know. And they’ll be taking a bow at the end, whether anyone wants it or not.
4. THE BREAKUP PROCESSOR
Everyone gets through a breakup in different ways. Some cry, some seclude themselves, and others take the stage at a karaoke bar to perform “End of the Road” in front of people they don’t know. There might be a few tears shed but even if the tears aren’t dripping from their eyes, you’d better believe they’re dripping from their heart. After it’s over you don’t know if you should clap or give them a hug.
5. THE WOO GIRL DUO
If you hear Katy Perry or that “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” song, you can almost guarantee this Sex on the Beach sipping duo is on their way to the stage. They wouldn’t turn down a free drink if it was offered to them in a mop bucket, and they most definitely refer to each other as “chica.” Even if they’re in their early 40s, you might still catch a side ponytail in there and if they’re younger there’s a very good chance they’re putting the entire performance on Snapchat. Best friends foreverrrrr!
6. THE MC
It must be hard setting up that stage every night for other people to sing “Born to Run” while you just stand in the corner hiding the fact that you too were chosen to sprint upon birth. Unfortunately, that means that, while you’re looking at the queue, counting down the singers until it’s your turn, a rogue singer hops on stage and throws everything off. No one knows you and no one is excited to see you perform, but if that’s what gets you through the night, then so be it. You’re like an exponentially lesser version of Bob Segar’s “Turn the Page.”
7. THE CROWD PLEASER
This person knows what’s up. He managed to find that perfect song that we aren’t all sick and tired of (LOOKING AT YOU, DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’) but we still know all the words to, and we get legitimately excited to hear the opening notes. It’s a delicate balance because it can be very unpredictable. For example, O-Town’s “All or Nothing” gets a huge response from the crowd, but N’Sync’s “Gone” gets nothing whatsoever. This man is a master of his craft and owns that stage like he’s Michael Jackson and we’re the Beatles’ song library.
8. THE DEEP CUTTER
This is pretty much the opposite of the last guy. This dude (or girl. We don’t generalize) has chosen a song that no one knows the words to and that’s because it’s a shitty song. But even if it’s not a BAD song, it’s just one that we don’t care anything about. It’s background noise. The worst part is that it’s usually a song with six verses and even if it doesn’t have six verses, it feels like it has six verses. Honestly, by the end, you’re not even sure it’s a track that was on the album. It’s like some B-side rough-cut track.
9. THE HUMAN LIQUOR BOTTLE
You never see this guy at 7:00pm. He’s the one strolling up at 12:45am, throwing back an entire drink like it’s the last sip then grabbing another full drink to bring onstage with him while he serenades us all the way to Margaritaville. Let’s just hope he calls an Uber or he’s going to be spending the night in County Lock-Upville followed by an extended stay in I Have To Breathe Into a Tube to Make My Car Startville. He’s not even the fun kind of drunk. It’s like he’s drinking to forget the pain. What happened to you, lonely friend?
10. THE FREE BIRD
Out of everyone, this may be the worst offender of all. He’s decided to make the most of his turn by choosing a song with a 17-minute guitar solo. We get the joy of sitting there and watching a grown man awkwardly stand in front of a blank screen and he gets the privilege of pacing back and forth, doing an air guitar solo, (that stops being cute when you turn seven) or twirling the mic around and seriously pissing off the MC. Are you gonna pay for that when it breaks? You can’t buy another one with your knowledge of Credence Clearwater Revival tracks, pal. Now finish up your terrible rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” so I can show off my vocal range and sensitivity with my seductive performance of “Climax” by Usher. Aw yeah.