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Audience engagement/participation

Games and other ideas to spice up your karaoke shows.
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Billy Bob Joe Bob 1958
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Audience engagement/participation

Post by Billy Bob Joe Bob 1958 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:34 pm

Anyone have any suggestions to add to the following?

To spice up my gigs, I try to engage non-singers in ways that don't screw up the performances.


* Cow Bell (great for Don't Fear the Reaper and Mississippi Queen and a surprising number of other songs--but you gotta' regulate in case someone is totally clueless)

* Godzilla hat (ridiculous hat but certain singers wear it when they sing Godzilla--audience pays more attention even if the singer sucks--or a drunken audience member can wear the hat and dance like a fool)

* Pimp hat (works for any "soul-infused" song, especially Sly and the Family Stone or Curtis Mayfield)

* Various wigs, boas and sunglasses (for Bowie, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, etc.)

* Thimbles and washboard (Black Oak Arkansas but works for lots of others too)

* Audience facing monitors (you cannot have too many! Get the audience involved--even if all they're doing is READING ALONG)

So...can anyone add to the list? (I'm always looking for more ideas.)

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Post by Bigdog » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:35 am

I've been doing 5 nights a week for 18 years and haven't needed that stuff. At one time in the early days I started to accumulate various prop items like muiscal instruments to play with.

I found that by attracting the more serious singers that stuff isn't needed. Karaoke singers want one thing and only one thing...they want to sing as much as possible every night. That's it. No contests to take up singing time. No bells and whistles making noise while they sing. Nobody acting like jerks while they sing...No dance sets....Just's a novel idea. Karaoke has and always will be about the singers...without them you have no karaoke show.

Every KJ has their own way of doing shows. Some work and some don't.

Some KJs work and some don't. I don't worry about running a high energy show. My biggest gimmick is my professional sounding system.

Quality nonstop singers keep my shows lively.

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Post by wiseguy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:52 pm

I personally have never used props or played any games at my shows. I generally have so many singers that doing anything like this would take away from their singing time which they would not like at all. I know of a few KJs who use props, and it works out well for them, but they typically have way more non-singers than singers in the crowd.

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Post by Bigdog » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:23 am


I may have said this once.... :roll:

Most KJs would get more benefit from an equipment upgrade, than trying to re-invent the karaoke show format.

Singers singing and sounding professional makes many singers and nonsingers happy. :shock:

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Post by Bigdog » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:44 am

I had a very good singer that would bring his own tambourine. He would use it to almost every song and some people were becoming a little upset about it being used during their song.

If someone brings their own noise distraction to the show you don't have any control over it.

I don't need fellow singers making other singers mad. And losing singers and or control over my show isn't an option.

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Post by spotlightjr » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:45 am

All I can say is .... thank god I don't live near either one of you. I use props, instruments, fog, games, performances, etc. at alot of my shows and they are just as successful as my straight karaoke gigs. Props and the like will work at anyone of our shows if the kj finds it worthwhile.
You guys obviously don't and that's cool. You keep status-quo and I'll continue on mainstreaming karaoke and taking it to the next level.

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Post by Bigdog » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:35 pm

I'm not saying props and fog and whatever else can't or won't work.

But tell me your rate of tourists at shows verses regular locals. Putting on a resort show would require me to use a different tactic. I'm thinkig a Vegas type show. Therefore going over a little better. Or being a little more accepted.

Nothing in any resort relating to entertainment is seen as being not bigger than life. Hot dancers wearing 4 foot high head gear. Lions and tigers, fireworks and water shows.

In rural America it ain't that way. I have serious singers getting mad over one guy with a tambourine....a circus type show would put me out of business. If it didn't I don't think my crowd would contain a lot of regulars. That would mean counting on a new crowd of couriosity seekers night after night. Meaning I couldn't count on a guaranteed successful night. Meaning I couldn't count on a steady rate of pay.

Second comes the money used to put on the special effects. Nobody for 500 miles around here even uses colored lights. Most bars don't even have a regular stage area. The pay grade for karaoke around me is $200 and under, mostly under. If I did a show in a resort my pay grade would be a lot higher, and would include a wardrobe department.

People on vacation want to experience out of the norm things. My crowds want to sing as much as possible without distractions. Not many KJs can do a nonstop all karaoke show without filler and dance sets, EVER. I don't think any of my competition does what I do, night after night.

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Post by jr2423 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:02 pm

Bigdog wrote:...My crowds want to sing as much as possible without distractions. Not many KJs can do a nonstop all karaoke show without filler and dance sets, EVER. I don't think any of my competition does what I do, night after night.
This is the way the clientel I serve like it as well. Of any of the shows I've been to here in the Phoenix area, or the valley for that matter, all offer straight karaoke with no props. Not that it's a good or bad thing, it's just the norm.

JR & Michele LaPorte
DHK DJ Service
Peoria, AZ

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Post by Bigdog » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:58 am

What should be the biggest attraction at a KARAOKE night?

Does that sound too much like a trick question?

Who the Hell is the KARAOKE night for and who do you expect to come and why?

I'm going to take a wild guess here....I'm guessing singers that want to sing.

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Post by MikoZuna » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:45 am

Every Bar has its regulars regardless of the theme of a night.. people who are frieds with the bar tenders, managers, waitstaff etc.. for every 1 person in a venue who is singing, theire is at least 2 sometimes 3 who do not, either out of fear or simply because they have no desire to.

I play Popular music in between singers.. sometimes for just 30 or so seconds while Im calling up the next in the rotation.. sometimes for a couple minutes if someone was god awful and i want to clense the atmosphere a bit..

Its all about keeping the registers ringing sales.. and if a happy middle ground can be met to keep the singers singing, and the non singrs willing to stay it all equates to more sales.. and that means more money for me down the road.

Ive thought about grabbing some props, i feel this mainly works though when a singer has a group of friends with them.. I have several restaurants in my area who come out to my shows in forces of 7-12.. and when one of their group is singing, all of them rush the dance floor, and cheer for them, and get crazy, it immediately spikes the energy level. and when the customers sitting back in their chairs see the fun, i notice them laughing and getting a little more into it..

Grantd, I wouldnt wnt someone smashing a cowbell or honking a horn when someone was singing a lights out version of a song.. for those moments the singer is in themselves the wow factor.

one thing I have noticed goes over really well are slide shows of prior weeks.. up on the big screens, while playing my break mnusic.. people LOVE seeing themselves pop up randomly on the TV.. and as stated prior, it keeps them involved in the show, while they arent singing..

I probably will grab a few things here and there.. some elton john style sunglasses... a big foam cowboy hat.. etc just to get others in a more festive mood.. if someone is going a song with a minute and a half solo in it.. giving them a prop to air guitar on, or play sax, etc wouldnt kill anyone, and would keep the singers from just standing there wondering what they should be doing..

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Post by Bigdog » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:01 am

There seems to be a fine line between a group having fun and the fun getting out of hand.

When a group of people wants to sing a song the crazy factor takes over. The more people the more crazy.

I call it the mob mentality. A single person is usually more calm than a group because as a group you can get away with more.

My show uniqueness is all I need. Because my competition can't do it. This keeps my show popular with serious karaoke singers.

The nonsingers are actually entertained with good singing talent. Props would cause unwanted distractions for the singers.

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Post by MikoZuna » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:58 am

not really, cause the good singers wouldnt use them...

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Post by Bigdog » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:05 am

MikoZuna wrote:not really, cause the good singers wouldnt use them...
Exactly...they will be used by the nonsingers and that Pi$$es off the good singers. They don't want someone else ruining their song.

Remember I get a more serious and more talented pool of singers. It may not matter to the screaming drunks, but it matters to my singers.

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Re: Audience engagement/participation

Post by Blackjack » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:05 pm

In our seasonal resort show, we will use a sing-along between rotations. We roam the audience and encourage everyone to sing. Last season, we saw several new singers emerge, to become regular singers over the season. Some couples even got their own equipment for use at home.

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Re: Audience engagement/participation

Post by karaokesparky » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:17 pm

I have been running background music in between singers. Most of the time it only plays for a few seconds but when singers are slow to come to the stage or they want to change their song at the last second, then the background music plays for 30-60 seconds while I change their song out. I think it keeps the energy level up in the bar better compared to when my system goes silent. When a background song comes on that people really like, sometimes you'll get people to sing along or even dance a little as their coming up to the stage.

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