At one time, I hosted karaoke shows at our friend’s bar and I was what some folks would call The KJ (like DJ only for karaoke). I love to sing, regardless of my skill, and I love seeing other people have a great time. After a while, I decided it was more fun in the audience than to run a show, so I left behind my days of pushing dials.
After all that time running shows, I found that there are certain types of karaoke singers that attended all shows no matter what kind of establishment was hosting a show. With the help of a few friends who’d all had to sit through many a show while I ran the boards with the Eye-Roll-of-Doom[tm], we compiled a list of all lists.
The following information is practically wrought with truthiness:
Bride’s Maids: This is a lively bunch of women/girls who have gathered for a night out (for instance, a bachelorette party) and have found themselves at a karaoke bar. Bride’s Maids sing almost every song in a large group that sloppily shares the two mics provided on stage. Should one venture to the stage to sing by herself, she does not generally make it through an entire song alone.
Songs Preferred: Like a Virgin, anything by the Dixie Chicks or Katy Perry
Orators: These singers always have something to say before their song begins. No matter how many times they come up to the stage, the mic seems to be their cue to give their thoughts to the world. Most Orators enjoy hogging the microphone AFTER their song as well, which generally means the KJ has to turn off the sound to get them to leave.
Songs Preferred: It’s not about the song, it’s about the message.
The Five-Spots: They only know one five second part of the song and you can bet that they’ll kill the shit out of it. The rest? William Shatner style.
Songs Preferred: Hold on. I’ll tell you when I get to the part I know….
Ring Masters: These guys are a crowd favorite. Not only can they sing well, they sing songs the crowd likes and are genuinely funny. Ring Masters are almost always a regular at the bar in question, but there are some exceptions. Whatever. You’ll probably invite them to your next party. They also always seem to know a guy who knows a guy….
Songs Preferred: Whatever they sing, it will be good and you’ll have a great time.
Urban Cowboys: If you see patrons in the bar cringing to the beat, that generally means that an Urban Cowboy is on the mic. UC’s are looking for notes in ALL the wrong places. They couldn’t carry a good tune if the bucket were taped to their ass, but of course that isn’t something that they’ve figured out yet.
Songs Preferred: We can’t really tell from the sound; we’ll have to read the screen.
Shady Pines: Ah, the good old days. Shady Pines love the old standards. They are a pretty good crowd if you know how to do the Fox Trot. The trick is to keep the Tom Collins’ coming.
Songs Preferred: Mac the Knife, My Way
Forget-Me-Nots: These singers turn in song slips then promptly forget what song they turned in. If you hear the phrase, “What am I singing,” or “What song is this,” then you’ve got yourself an Forget-Me-Not.
Songs Preferred: We don’t know…they forgot.
Court Jester: The CJ’s sing all of the parody songs and funny songs in the book. They also enjoy tv and movie theme songs. Most of the time, they really crack themselves up, so at least someone is laughing.
Songs Preferred: Theme Song to Green Acres, any Weird Al song
Turtles: Turtles are very shy. The best way to spot one is when you see a singer trying their best to hide behind the karaoke monitor or the microphone. They also sing so quietly that you think someone must have tortured them into getting on stage. The weird thing is, they keep turning in songs.
Songs Preferred: I’d tell you if I could hear them
Queers with Beers and Dykes on Mics: This is a joint group of lesbians and gay boys that love karaoke. Sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re bad, but you can always bet they will be singing token gay music. (Before you get all twisty about my use of slang, I completely fit into this category and can call myself anything I like.)
Songs Preferred: We are Family, YMCA, and anything from the catalogue of Melissa Etheridge…and we’ve now added Lady Gaga.
Desperate Housewives: You can’t possibly miss this group. These women are out on the prowl in the smallest outfit in their closet. They like to get liquored up on shots that taste like candy and sing songs that have so many sexual overtones you start looking for strippers. After they’ve gyrated all over the karaoke stage, they’ll promptly whore up on some old drunk guy at the end of the bar.
Songs Preferred: I Touch Myself, Criminal, My Neck My Back
Special Bus Kids: These kids are sweet, but can’t seem to figure out how karaoke works. They walk up to the stage and stare at you until you tell them to grab the mic, they stare at the mic until you tell them to turn it on, they hold the mic down by their stomach until you tell them to hold it up to their mouth, then they stare at you at the end of the song until you tell them to put the mic back without bothering to tell them to turn it off.
Songs Preferred: No special songs, but someone did have to tell them how to fill out the slip.
Goat Herders: Goat Herders are just baaaaahd. They sign up for a song by themselves, but EVERY time they get up to sing, they call ALL of their friends up to sing with them. Their friends pick up scragglers along the way and by the time the song is over, about half of the bar is up on stage singing to the waitress and the bartender.
Songs Preferred: Love Shack, The Time Warp, Bohemian Rhapsody
Good Ol’ Boys: These guys are the parallel of the Bride’s Maids without the pop music. This group can’t seem to sing alone so they bring up every guy they are drinking with and attack every classic Southern rock and country song possible.
Songs Preferred: Sweet Home Alabama, Friends in Low Places
Doppelgangers: The Doppelgangers can easily be confused with the Divas. Doppelgangers are so into their own singing that they obviously believe they ARE the person who recorded the song. If they sing Creed, they ARE Stapp. If they sing Prince, you’d better know that Diamond and Pearl are dancing in their mind. The difference between the ‘Gangers and the Divas is that the Divas don’t fantasize about being other people.
Songs Preferred: Depends on the fandom of the singer.
Tourette Lyricist: TL’s LOVE to throw cuss words into songs that don’t have cuss words in them. In fact, the least likely the song is to have bad language, the more likely these guys will sing it…and taint it.
Songs Preferred: Any song they can fit “fuckin'” into.
Homely Harriets: You can spot these singers from a mile away. They generally have some sort of Ogilvy Home Perm and are wearing throwbacks from the 80’s. HH’s even LOOK like they’re going to sing Celine Dione at some point during the night…and they always do.
Songs Preferred: My Heart Will Go On, anything by Barbara Streisand
Economists: The Economist is a sly, and drunk, karaokier. In an effort to get everyone to sing along, the Economist says all of the lines of the song before he/she actually sings them so people will know what’s coming up (as if they can’t read). This means, though he might only put one song in the rotation, he actually ends up singing that one song about four times. Four for one isn’t a bad ratio, but it’s hell on the audience.
Songs Preferred: Something that moves slow enough to say the line before it comes on the screen.
Aqua Nets: Welcome to Hair Metal at its finest. This group contains both men and women who swear their undying allegiance to all big-hair metal bands. They sign up for anything that can bring about the A-ROCK-alypse and can be spotted by the faded and torn band shirt from the first Van Halen concert they ever attended.
Songs Preferred: Sweet Child of Mine, 18 and Life
Karaoke Divas: Divas are known for giving the KJ instructions on how they like their microphone to sound and how loud they want the music. They give an all out performance complete with emotional interpretive dance and deep meaningful stares during ballads.
Songs Preferred: It depends on the favored genre of the Diva in question.
Wallflowers: Wallflowers are an absolute joy. They sit in the corner of the bar quietly. They don’t have any friends and barely speak to the waitress, but when they sing it’s pure honey. They are extremely talented and sing for the simple joy of singing. They’re like a diamond in the rough so enjoy them while you’ve got ’em.
Songs Preferred: You never know what can come out of a Wallflower.
Elvis Impersonators: They are generally late middle-aged men who grew up wanting to be cool like the King. EI’s are good entertainment and well-behaved karaokiers.
Songs Preferred: American Trilogy, All Shook Up
Karaoke Virgins: These are people who have never sang karaoke before. They generally pick a song that’s really easy to sing or that everyone knows by heart. Talent may vary.
Narcoleptics: Narcoleptics are so drunk that they start nodding off in the middle of the song. During the longer songs, Narcoleptics might develop mic indentations in their forehead…they won’t notice. To rid yourself of one of these guys, just wake them up and get one of their friends to usher them off stage.
Songs Preferred: ZzZzZzZz…What!?
Field Trippers: Look up annoying in the dictionary and you’ll probably find a picture of these guys. Field Trippers like to worm their way onto the mic and sing with anyone who is up on stage alone, including the KJ. They rarely ask if they can join you, and those that DO ask don’t wait for an answer. They hog the mic and sing so off-key that you can’t possibly sing on key. Their breath smells horrid and they like to sing in your face.
Songs Preferred: Whatever you’re singing.
Jekyll & Hyde: You never know when there’s a J&H in your midst. You see, Jekyll is their sober personality and singing ability. Generally, this side of the J&H is fun and can sing a decent tune. Hyde, on the other hand, is an evil beast from the darkness who wouldn’t know how to sing if it were implanted in their evil little minds. Jekyll is most likely to sing anything, Hyde…we can’t really tell because they’re too drunk or screaming/mumbling/whatever into the mic.
Songs Preferred: It’s a toss-up really.
Flying Ninjas: These guys love to ROCK, and even better, they love to have a dance break during the instrumental sections of their songs. Sometimes FN’s dance during their songs by displaying an array of high kicks that rival those of a karate convention.
Songs Preferred: Anything with a long instrumental break
Betty Ford Escapees: These alcoholics WILL NOT sing unless they are stumbling drunk and have to be led to the stage by three of their friends. Once they are deposited on the stage, they can turn into a Narcoleptic or a Tourette’s Lyricist.
Songs Preferred: You’ll have to ask their friends that ushered them up to the stage.
The Islanders: Can’t you hear the steel drum and surf in the distance? Probably not, the Islander’s shirt is too loud. These guys are known for their Hawaiian wear and fruity beverages. They’re tanned to the point of shoe leather and suffer from a case of the “let me tell you about my boat”. You’ll know an Islander before they start singing from the smell of Banana Boat and rum. “I blew out my flip-flop, stepped on a pop-top…”
Songs Preferred: Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet
I know there are many more that can be added to this list, but all in all I do love the whole karaoke atmosphere. I might complain sometimes, but without these colorful characters, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or fun.