Winning Karaoke Contests are not just about hanging out at your local bar and casually—or drunkenly—singing song lyrics in front of an easy going crowd anymore.
It’s about competition. It’s about winning. It’s about prizes, trophies and money. Karaoke contests have become as popular as karaoke, itself.
Most karaoke contests have Best Male winner, Best Female winner and Best Duet winners categories for singers who can wow a panel of judges with their vocal prowess and knowledge of lyrics. But in a karaoke contest, you can’t just impulsively jump onstage, grab the microphone, hit a few sour notes, botch the lyrics and score points for making the audience laugh. This is no longer a game. Singing the lyrics to prerecorded music is now showbiz, baby!
And in showbiz, it’s about putting on an entire show. It’s not only about singing a song and acing its lyrics. It’s about your entire performance. The song you chose is the heart of that performance, though. So select a song you like and thoroughly know, with lyrics you could sing in your sleep. But no matter how much you like a song, skip it if it’s out of your vocal range, or if its lyrics trip up your tongue.
Make sure the song and its lyrics suit your voice. If your voice has a twang, go for a country song, not Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Is your voice gravelly? Maybe a Rod Stewart tune would be best for you. Do you have range and power? A Broadway show tune, with its dramatic melody and lyrics, might be a good choice.
Your song and its lyrics should be familiar to the audience, because their participation in your performance can score points for you. Even if you love an 18th century Irish folk song, and can sing its music and lyrics beautifully, force yourself to pick something more mainstream.
Dress like a star! Don’t just throw on torn jeans and a t-shirt you’ve pulled out of the hamper. Put on a cowboy hat, fringed vest, and cowboy boots if your song has country music and lyrics. Wear a tux or gown if you’re crooning a classic. Dress in leather if you’ll be roaring heavy metal, or like Elvis if you’ll be singing one of his numbers.
Before the performance, steer clear of alcohol. If you’re nervous, soak in a hot bath, or meditate to ease the tension. And never eat a big meal before you sing. Nobody wants anything other than a melody and lyrics coming out of your mouth while you’re onstage!
Have fun, make eye contact with the audience and judges, and work the stage. That doesn’t mean you need to breathe fire like Gene Simmons, or have a slew of choreographed dancers in tow, like Madonna. It means move around. Use gestures and body language that illustrate the lyrics, without getting corny. Bring the song and its lyrics to life.
If you don’t win, be gracious and professional. You’re not in a position to be a diva yet. And if you do win, it may just give you the confidence to pick another song, practice singing its lyrics, and take a shot at entering another karaoke contest!
Merryl Lentz –