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Ultimate Karaoke - How to Win Karaoke Contests

Practical Advice on How To Win Karaoke Contests

By Steve Douglas

Know the rules of the contest - this is the most important advice we can give. Most contests are rarely judged on voice quality alone, but also consider stage presence, audience reaction, entertainment value, phrasing, the ability to stay on key and costumes. Find out beforehand what the judging criteria will be and then work on those required abilities. Remember, if you don't agree with the requirements, you don’t have to participate.

Find the right songs. The trick is to find a contest-winning song that no one else uses. When contests are long, use the qualifying weeks to try out new songs. If one doesn't immediately get the crowd going, move on to another song. If you can't find a new song, stick with the songs that have worked for you in the past.

Practice, practice and practice.

Ask if you can go last. Most big contests have contestants pull names out of a hat to determine contestant rotation but, if this is not done, ask the KJ if they will let you go last. In case of a sign up sheet, sign up for the last spot. The final (or near final) singer has a much higher percentage of being remembered.

Find out who the judges are and where they are sitting, and sing to them, while making good eye contact.

Move on stage. You don't have to have a choreographed dance routine (although it could help) but any kind of movement goes a long way and is far better than remaining stationary.

Don't be glued to the monitor - this is where practice helps. Looking like you know the song well gives a more professional appearance.

Despite a case of stage fright, don't overdo the alcoholic beverages. You will perform much better without being intoxicated.

Many contests give the participants a warm up song. This is a great extra opportunity to impress the judges before the contest even gets started. Again ask your KJ if you can warm up last. This warm up song can be a good time to sing a song that might not be suited to a contest.

Dress like a winner, even in the preliminary rounds. If you are serious about winning, use every available edge you have.

Bring your own cheering section. This is a must!


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