How to Run a Karaoke Contest

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A karaoke contest is a fun way to increase business at a local bar, night club or restaurant. Many schools, church groups and social organizations hold contests in order to raise money or as a recreational activity for their members. A well-run karaoke contest can generate interest in your business or organization. A poorly conducted contest can leave people feeling angry and disappointed and can have a negative impact on your group.

Things You'll Need

  • Banners, fliers and promotional materials
  • CDG player
  • Mixer/amplifier
  • Speakers
  • Microphones
  • Television monitors
  • CD+G karaoke discs (1000 to 3000 songs recommended)
  • Printed music-selection lists
  • Cash prizes or trophies
  • Select impartial judges. Members of the community that work in music-related fields or entertainment are great candidates to judge the contest. They should not be employees or relatives of the venue promoting the contest nor of any of the contestants. Judges should be of both genders, selected from a variety of age groups. The more diversity among the judges, the better. You should also hire a professional karaoke jockey, or KJ, to host the event. Select someone who has experience with contests.

  • Establish the rules and print out copies for all participants. Decide whether people may sing using their own karaoke discs or only those provided. State whether performances are to be individual or whether duets or groups will be allowed. Give the criteria for judging performance; typically, vocal quality, stage presence and audience response are considered. Decide on the award for first, second and third place. Many contests require a qualifying round and end with a final round in which previous winners compete against each other.

  • Promote your event inside the venue with banners, posters, fliers, table tents and other graphic materials. To attract a larger turnout, you might place an advertisement in a local paper, in a karaoke-industry magazine, on radio or television. Announce the contest on your venue's website. Your KJ may also help to promote the event. Don't forget social-networking websites and emailing or text messaging to established lists of subscribers.

  • Set up all equipment and check the sound system. Place television monitors so the singer can see the lyrics while facing the audience. Make sure the speakers are placed far enough away from the singer to avoid feedback. Do a sound check two hours before contest begins.

  • Sign in and sing. Singers should give their names and the songs they wish to sing. Be sure to get contact information for each singer. Singers are called up by the KJ to perform; judges can respond to each individually or can record scores to be revealed only at the end. After the last singer's performance, play dance music until you're ready to announce the final results.

    Announce the third-place winner first, followed by second place, and ending with the first-place winner. This builds suspense and doesn't embarrass those who were not in the top three. Remember to thank all the participants; everyone should leave feeling appreciated.

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