Ruining the mood at karaoke


A typical night at karaoke in Japan

goo Ranking recently took a look at a subject that was tempted to entitle “Karaoke FAIL”, but it didn’t quite fit, and anyway I have another FAIL coming later this evening. So, the survey was into what leaves people feeling down at karaoke.


Between the 21st and 23rd of June 2010 1,137 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 65.1% of the sample were female, 8.0% in their teens, 20.4% in their twenties, 31.2% in their thirties, 23.9% in their forties, 9.2% in their fifties, and 7.2 aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

I’ve not been to karaoke for ages and ages, but I’ve done my fair share of ruining the mood for others, judging by the list. Fiddling with the sound effects is one of my favourites, and in order to try to disguise my total inability to carry a tune I’ve occasionally done the speaking instead of singing.

Photo from gullevek on flickr.

Ranking result

Q: What leaves you feeling down at karaoke? (Sample size=1,137)

Rank Score
1Everyone is getting into a song, but I don’t know it100
2A broken microphone that won’t stop squealing with feedback94.9
3The first song is a compromise77.6
4Just as the song gets sabi a member of staff enters73.9
5Broken microphone72.9
6When I’m singing my heart out to an obscure ballad, no-one is listening68.8
7The touch-panel has a flat battery65.1
8While I’m singing along someone goes to the toilet64.1
9The video with the song is too old60.7
10Someone else sings my best number54.2
11Can’t choose a comfortable setting for the air conditioning53.2
12The chosen song’s singing part or instrumental part is long50.2
13When I ask “Are you not singing?” they say “I really hate singing”.47.5
14When I start singing someone else starts choosing their song46.4
15There’s a lingering smell from the previous occupants46.4
16The first song is a ballad42.4
17When I’m singing a part with feeling someone else joins in41.4
18Someone else is singing a song I like, but they make small mistakes40.0
19There’s someone who’s always half a note out of tune37.6
20Someone joins in with the harmony without asking32.9
21The staff says there’s lots of space for everyone, but the room’s too small30.5
22As I’m trying to adjust the key to suit me the song finishes29.8
23As I’m singing someone’s fiddling with the volume, echo, etc controls28.1
24Even though we’d planned to share the song, someone sings all the chorus themselves27.1
25There’s women in the group but the videos for the songs are too sexy24.1
26Everyone’s clapping, percussion, etc is out of sync17.6
27=The two of us want to sing until daybreak, but the other person falls asleep14.6
27=The music from the adjacent booth gets in the way14.6
27=They are a good singer, but they’ve too much vibrato and it ends up sounding like enka folk songs14.6
30Someone starts rapping along to the songs13.9
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