So you've finally decided to fulfill your lifelong dream of throwing a karaoke party?! The idea of you and all of your closest friends crooning in each other’s company has tantalized your imagination for years, and now you’re finally going to try to pull it off. This article will help you understand the key parts to a karaoke party.
First, you have to decide whether it’s going to be at home or another venue. If funds are scarce, it’s easier to find a karaoke bar or restaurant where everyone’s paying for their own food and drinks. The kind of venue you choose depends on your taste, as there are many options. You can do the tried-and-true Korean joint, but the real question is whether or not you want to book your own private room. If you can afford it, do it! It’s far more fun singing with your friends than it is waiting for everyone else in the karaoke bar to go ahead of you. Karaoke has gone so mainstream now that you can also find it in some American bars. It's a good idea to determine ahead of time if it is an establishment where actually performing karaoke is frowned upon or, conversely, attacked with competitive zeal.
If you have the funds and want to take all the credit for the event, you’ll want to host it, and thus you have to buy some sort of device. It's important to do your research ahead of time. There are many different options out there, with all sorts of modern technology involved. Karaoke machines range in price from about $50 to $750! There are options that look like boom-boxes right out of the 80s, while others have disco lights and even involve Hello Kitty! There are also new simple versions that work with your iPod, like iKaraoke. Make a choice that’s right for your wallet, your situation, and your sense of humor. Remember you’ll have to test and see if the machine will work and be loud enough in a party environment. So you have your machine and now you need to test it and make sure you know how to use it properly. Be an expert by the time the big night rolls around. Nothing is as much of a buzzkill as technical difficulties.
Now it’s time to plan the actual party, and sodas and chips alone from Costco aren’t going to cut it, no matter how good their spinach and artichoke dip is. First of all, you should have a theme. Get people thinking about what songs they want to sing before they arrive.
One idea is one-hit wonders. What is the most obscure song you know all the words to? “99 Luftballoons”—in German? 1970’s sitcom themes? Any “Weird” Al Yankovic parodies? His original songs get bonus points, see: “Gonna Buy Me a Condo.”
Another idea is songs that are difficult to perform. Songs that are very fast, like “It’s The End of the World As We Know It?” or “We Didn’t Start the Fire” are good choices. Alternatively, you may choose a long song, like “American Pie.” Even verbally complex songs are good, like A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” or any Biggie or Eminem song.
You could choose a genre. The 70s and 80s are good because of their kitsch value. Specificity can be fun too. Country and gangster-rap are another alternative. You could even go full American Idol-style and pick one artist for the night. Remember, everyone wants to let their inner Madonna shine through!
Another great theme is going cheesy! Dare your friends to get as cheesy as possible! Who can pick the most ridiculous song of the night?
You should decorate your space, wherever it is, in true karaoke fashion. Everyone, deep down, wants to feel like a rock star, so do your best to make them feel like they're performing instead of just standing up in front of everyone. Can you create a stage or hang spotlights? You could change out the lightbulbs with other colors. Props are key too! Hats, robes, boas, and anything with glitter or sequins on it add flare. You might even try to get your hands on a lightweight microphone stand.
You can create a fun, relaxed, anything-goes atmosphere, by being the first one to perform, and making a fool out of yourself. Sing a Mariah Carey song and don’t even come close to hitting the high notes. Or try a Bryan Adams ballad. There’s nowhere to go, but up from “Everything I Do I Do it For You.” Also, be sure to serve alcoholic libations, assuming everyone is over 21, of course! You may choose to provide energy drinks and sodas too. Introduce enticements, like prizes for the best and worst perfomances, the most original song choice, the best choreography, or the gutsiest performance. Offer people the option of filming their performance on your iPhone or video camera, just promise you won’t upload it to Facebook if they don’t want you to. Encourage costumes that go along with the theme of the party: Hair metal, bling, country, 80’s, or whatever else! The more people feel like they can disappear into the theme, the more fun they’ll have.
In terms of food, stick to appetizers, because you don’t want people’s plates loaded down with large meals while they’re trying to participate. People might also get sleepy, and food comas and Karaoke don’t mix well. Good luck with your event, and remember, it’s all about the fun! Happy Karaoke-ing!