10 Signs Your Karaoke DJ is a Douche

Please read the previous in this series: Tips for a New Karaoke Singer and Things a KJ May Not Tell You.

Getting up there and singing Karaoke is hard. Do you remember your first time? It was likely very intimidating.

But have you ever left a karaoke show and thought: “Wow, that KJ was a douche!” Well behold, you are not alone.

Here are ten signs your karaoke DJ is a douche.

Hoarding Songs

I get it. You’re the KJ and have control over the rotation. If I go to put in a song, the KJ has a list of all the current singers and their songs. To avoid a sing-off, the KJ usually refuses to put in a song that is already in the queue.

However, the douche move is to hoard a song. For example, I wanted to sing a rap song, and the KJ told me, “That’s my go-to song.” Meaning, the KJ wanted to sing it instead.

No and abso-fucking-lutely no. The KJ is there to help us sing.

It might take you months to learn a song (Rap God took 6 months of practice before I attempted it). When you finally get the guts to sing that coveted song, the last thing you want to hear is, “That’s my song.”

If you’re a KJ, stop hoarding songs. It’s your job to get others up to sing. If you are hoarding songs, you’re just pissing off your regulars, if you even have any.

Excessive DJ Music

I’ve known KJs to play background music in-between singers. That’s kinda normal.

Where it gets irritating is when the KJ plays DJ music (one or two songs) in-between each singer.

This makes the rotation unpredictable and there’s a chance your song can come up as DJ music, which is unfortunate.

KJs, background music is fine in-between singers, but your job is not to play music; it’s your job to get as many people singing as fast as possible.

Friends Over Regulars

So you got a new gig, yeah? And you have a social media presence? Cool! How awesome of you!

However, I’ve seen too many shows where a KJ will favor a friend over a regular.

There’s nothing wrong with bringing your buddies to a karaoke show. Hopefully they’re tipping and drinking.

The problem is when a KJ stacks the friends and then allows the regulars to sing. Not cool.

The Dreaded Sing-Off

Generally when you sing a song, it’s off-limits for the rest of the night.

Barely rarely have I seen this, but sometimes a KJ will let someone sing a song that’s already been sung for the night.

That sucks!

Now you’re involuntarily involved in a sing-off, which is a confidence damper and also disrespects the crowd since they have to hear the song twice by different vocalists.

This creates a bit of competition, and let’s be honest, karaoke should not be a contest.

Lack of Crowd Control

I was at a place called Shiloh Club in Midwest City, Oklahoma. My voice was cracking, so I decided to do a rap song. This dude named Tiny grabbed the second mic, got up on stage with me, and started mocking me.

I left that place and never went back.

The Karaoke DJ is responsible for the crowd and should’ve turned that second mic off. Instead, they let a patron intimidate me.

When you’re the KJ, the crowd is yours to gain or lose. If you can’t control the crowd, it makes for an unpleasant experience. And you’re a douche at that.

Allowing Long Songs

On a busy night, long songs are generally a faux pas. Slow night? Anything goes.

I love the song Jesus of Suburbia, but it’s a 9 minute song. I wouldn’t dare put it in during a regular rotation because it’ll piss off all the regulars.

The douche move is long song after long song. The regulars are just looking on for their turn and a super long song can be a crowd killer.

No Acknowledgement for Tips

Most of the shows I go have a tip jar to show appreciation.

I try to tip my KJ every time I go to karaoke. What irks me is when there is absolutely no acknowledgement that I placed my hard-earned money in their tip jar.

Don’t be a douche. Say “Thank You” at a minimum.

Refusing to Get New Songs

A good KJ always takes requests. And most KJs I interact with are glad to find a song for you to sing.

The douche move is to refuse to get new songs. I’ve even offered to pay the KJ for the songs, but no dice.

No Online Song Book

Here’s a reminder: it’s 2018. Filling out paper slips and manually flipping through a songbook is so ten years ago.

Sign up for a service like songbookslive and allow your patrons to search online.

Taking Bribes

I got lambasted over one of my previous karaoke posts when I mentioned it’s okay to bribe KJs to get a better spot in the rotation.

Well, I have seen the error in my ways. I no longer think this is a good practice.

A KJ who takes bribes for a bump in the rotation is now just a douche.

(Bonus) They Allow You to Sing Picture

What an embarrassment. Picture by Sheryl Crow and Kidd Rock is a great duet. It also happens to be the Nickelback of karaoke songs. The original sucked. The one you’re about to sing… will suck.

So for the love of everyone, stop singing Picture. Let’s pretend that song is broken, okay?

Your Turn

Leave a comment below on other experiences when the KJ was a douche. Feel free to rip me apart as well.

7 Comments

  1. If I had my way, every karaoke track of “Picture” would disappear from the face of the earth.

  2. Agree with all -except maybe the long song one. And Picture (which is not sung very often at my show anyway).

  3. I pretty much agree with all except for bribery, suffice to say, I work at a small dive bar that has a big rep for live music, but it’s in a one horse town(village really) and we get tons of party busses, now as a rule I haven’t taken a bribe on a busy night from regulars and semi regulars but from bus patrons, yes, because typically they’re not there for long periods of time, and they wanna have some fun too, and it doesn’t always involve money, sometimes a smile and a handshake or a promise to come back, which more times than not have been fulfilled. Well written article

  4. I’d like to add
    – Drunk KJ’s. When a KJ is so drunk that they have completely lost control of their show, can no longer control their sound and actually ruins songs for singers by jumping into their songs drunk vocally or with an instrument.

    – KJ’s who harass you for tips. It has happened, multiple times. It just makes them seem like a bigger douche. Do a good job, tips will come your way, don’t harass your singers.

    • It’s Better if your tips aren’t coming in the best way is to have a Show Regular remind people of the tip jar and to remember to tip the KJ…

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