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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Punching Out the Overhead Lights During a Karaoke Song: What to Do Next

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM

  • Illustration by Mike Gorman

Karaoke can be a dangerous endeavor. What can you sing that won't make friends shun you? How can you go balls-out during your next performance? Each week in "Ask a Karaoke Host," RFT Music writer and professional karaoke host Allison Babka answers your burning questions about maximizing your melodious mutterings and minimizing your friends' pain. Ask her stuff by emailing or hashtagging #rftkaraoke on Twitter.

When you try to sing "Shout at the Devil" by Motley Crue in the basement of Blueberry Hill but you suck and then accidentally punch out an overhead light, what's the most graceful way to exit the stage? -- Accidents Will Happen

I wish someone would have taken a photo of my WTF? face when I received this question. I'm absolutely certain it was priceless.

Actually, this is precisely the kind of question I wanted to get when I started this column five months ago. I KNEW that you people have experienced weird shit while crooning Def Leppard's greatest hits. But noooooo, you guys have written to me with normal questions about singing racial slurs, tipping the KJ and gaining confidence as a karaoke virgin. Don't get me wrong -- those have been important issues to address. But isn't it fun to talk about the crazytown stuff too?

Bad Day, I assume that your question comes from personal experience and isn't just a what-if situation. I'm really grateful that we can all wince over your spectacular public embarrassment together.

Honestly, awkward things happen on the karaoke stage all the time, and they contribute to people's fear of trying karaoke in the first place. Singers croak wrong notes, trip over microphone wires or fall down while grooving during an instrumental break. No one is immune to it, not even me. When stuff happens, you've got two choices: 1) recover and keep singing, or 2) smile, take a bow, leave the stage and get over it. Seriously, in 10 minutes, the audience won't give a hoot.

Busting a light at karaoke isn't a regular occurrence, though. I'm not sure how you did that, exactly, but I'd imagine that you were pretty humiliated afterwards. Shit happens, but it could always be worse, my friend.

Unfortunately, there's not a ton that you can do as you're standing among shards of glass while the the karaoke host seethes and audience stares at you, but here are some suggestions:

1. Make a joke. Diffuse the situation by telling the audience "Oops, I did it again." The Britney reference should net a chuckle and calm the room down a bit.

2. Apologize to the KJ. Your karaoke host may be in a bad mood or a bit defensive after your kerfluffle, but walking over and offering your sincere, private apology will go a long way.

3. Rectify the situation. You should make good with the KJ or the bar. Offer to pay for the damages or devise another solution that works for everyone.

No matter what kind of embarrassing situation you find yourself in, you can get through it with good humor, humility and sincerity.

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