If you want to sing in public badly enough, you can

Missy Reese sings at karaoke night at Village Lanes in East Syracuse, N.Y.

Missy Reese sings at karaoke night at Village Lanes in East Syracuse, N.Y.

I enjoyed judging the karaoke contest Saturday night at Village Lanes in East Syracuse.

The nine singers who signed up ranged in talents, certainly, from very good to very brave.

That’s one of wonderful things about karaoke. Anybody who wants to sing can. It’s really the great equalizer.

You don’t have to be great. Maybe you just have to want to be great. A legend in your own mind, perhaps. Or maybe just somebody who wants to get better and better and better singing. Or somebody who likes to wail and doesn’t care about the consequences?

I wrote about the phenomena that won’t go away for my weekly Mark It Up community blog for Syracuse Public Media site waer.org. If you’d like to read my story, click the link below.

http://waer.org/post/karaoke-keeps-going-strong-including-contest-village-lanes

By the way, Missy Reese, the singer I caught in my picture above, was one of the good ones. She took one of the four slots to advance to the next round of the competition.

Do you enjoy watching friends or family sing karaoke, and if so, why? Do you enjoy watching strangers sing karaoke, and if so, why? Would you rather sing in the shower, in the car, or at a karaoke night, and why?

65 thoughts on “If you want to sing in public badly enough, you can

  1. A friend hosts a weekly karaoke night and we attend as a family most weeks. My husband and I sing regularly and the kiddo will jump in now and then. I have actually been doing it for years. My ex-husband had a friend that ran karaoke in multiple bars where we lived and we would join her a couple of times a week (pre-motherhood, of course). When I started, I had to have a drink to calm my nerves….but once I got pregnant and couldn’t do that, I had to learn to do it on my own. Now I can stand at the mic and belt it with the best of them……or at least the loudest of them.

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  2. I’ve only been to a few Karaoke bars but enjoyed them. I did end up singing at one after too much to drink and with a partner. Ha! I don’t remember much. neat that you got to judge Mark. that would be fun. Did Karen join you?

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    • Karen did not join me that evening. It was the same day as the Crawfish Festival, and she chose to attend that event in the afternoon, so instead wanted to stay home and unwind from her long work week on a Saturday night. Can’t say I blame her, though I’m sure she would have been thoroughly entertained.

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  3. Gee, no one ever asked for my autograph except the cop who gave me a ticket once., um, maybe it was a couple of times bro Mark. I guess I coulda been famous if I had signed that contract, but just too afraid. I got my 15 minutes of fame with Skynard though, and every Sunday morning behind the mic in church, shielded by my Martin D78. I also wanted to play the violin badly, and I was an over-achiever there. The family banished me to the barn, but the cow went dry after I practiced there for a few days, so I had to go back to the end of the cornfield. We had a lower yield of corn that year. Tried moving in with my grandparents, both deaf, but the neighbors complained and there were visits from the police, so I finally decided that just wasn’t my thing and traded it for my first guitar. Good decision.

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  4. I sing (poorly) with a lot of heart, as they say πŸ˜€ I sing at church, in the car, in public when it will embarrass my children, and while watching The Voice. Speaking of, if I just believe in myself…believe that I will hit that high note…I will…in fact, I believe in my voice so much I’m pretty much going to be a very famous singer very soon. Do you want my autograph now before I hit the big time?

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  5. Mark, I’m not a fan of Karaoke, but I’m a fan of yours for saying that the singing ranged from good to brave – You have a beautiful heart! At first I read the title of this post as, If you want to sing badly in public you can – which sounds like the mission statement for karaoke bars to me… πŸ˜‰
    Diana xo

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  6. I’d love to see some folks singing karaoke. I love singing people. I like your reasons for why people might be singing. I would never do it. But I’d love to watch while others did it. I think singing is one of the greatest soothers of human souls.

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  7. I think this is an unusual way of showing people you appreciate music and singing, Mark. I admire that you were a judge for this and I enjoy karaoke, so It would be fun for me, too.
    I am only able to get up and sing, if a few friends are around and there is a few drinks consumed beforehand. I hope no one remembers my singing, since I usually hold the microphone far away and let the others who are singing with me take the ‘burden’ of the song more. I love this post and would have enjoyed being in the audience. So glad Missy did a fine job, along with a few others moving on.

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  8. Oh dear I have enjoyed karaoke on too many occasions. I love your description ”very good or very brave’ I think that is perhaps the kindest of description which could be given to describe it.

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  9. This is the national sport of Taiwan. Even the hotels have long corridors with sound-proof rooms which you can rent and use for karaoke. It’s incredible. Our friends have a big karaoke room in their basement and that’s how they entertain. And nobody is the least bit shy about it. Such a cultural difference. They sing their heads off – English and Chinese songs – with great enthusiasm.

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  10. I love to do karaoke, and I have a horrible voice. I jump around, dance, and in general ham it up. it’s fun! But a contest? I don’t qualify for that. I have enjoyed nights when the crowd is really into it and we all cheer for each other, even if we don’t know one another and most of us are not very good.

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    • That’s the spirit of karaoke, Cynthia, when everybody knows their level and appreciates everybody else’s level as well. I like that you ham it up, fast song style. Good for you! I ham it up for Bobby Darin’s version of ‘Mack the Knife’ as my go-to karaoke song. Also, last time on the cruise ship, I busted out the first version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home” a cappella because I had rehearsed it but the karaoke crew did not have the music. The first verse was all I could remember without the screen lyrics. The rest would have been too slow of a ballad, anyway, with these new rules I am now accepting.

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  11. I would agree to keep upbeat tunes. Even if you can sing a great ballad, people don’t go to bars on Saturday nights to hear Debbie Downer. It’s supposed to be fun. On the other hand, don’t bother if you sound like Tiny Tim. I got the nerve up about 15 yrs ago, just before 2am closing time, to sing Roseanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache” in front of a crowd of about 3 and never did it again. Now I sing at church, so the fear is gone, but it sure would be fun. How neat that you got to judge!

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    • Oh I SO agree about Debbie Downer! I was once at a karaoke night in Potsdam, NY and all these students from the Crane School of Music were there. Their voices were beautiful, of course, but slow song after SLOOOWW song! ugh!

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  12. I’m pretty much inline with the rest. I’ll sing in the car and. Shower but not in front of a crowd…mainly because I can’t sing. But I enjoy watching others who either have talent or brave enough to get up there. Of course some may not remember what they did the next morning but that’s the fun part.

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  13. I sing in the car, all the time. The only way I could sing in front of others, as the center of attention at the moment, would be if I were very inebriated. I could not care less what other drivers on the road think of me when they see me belting out tunes on the commute πŸ˜€

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  14. Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun Mark. I’ve never been to a Karaoke bar when the karaoke was actually happening but it’s fun with friends at parties. You know, the word badly in your title can be taken two ways!!

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