Three ways to survive karaoke when you can't sing very well

Three ways to survive karaoke when you can't sing very well
That's me in between my friend and Santa singing "Call Me Maybe." (Photo courtesy of my wife)

I can count the number of times I've done karaoke in public with one hand. Singing in front of strangers without practicing beforehand seems to me to be about as much fun as going to a museum of malicious implements of dental horror.

While I'm not the world's worst singer, I'm not a particularly good singer either. I can sing somewhat well – I've sung in public a number of times – but I need to practice a song a RIDICULOUS amount of times. Like The Song That Never Ends amount of times. And that's just to get to "well, at least I won't embarrass myself" range.

Yet, this weekend when my wife and I visited friends in Appleton, Wis., I somehow found myself on stage at McG's College Avenue Burgers & Beers next to a karaoke machine and a bearded fellow dressed as Santa Claus.

Who says peer pressure doesn't work?

Now, I was able to survive this experience by following three easy rules:

1. Pick a song that doesn't require good singing for it to be successful: You can either go with a funny song, Billy Ray Cyrus or one that doesn't seem to fit your personality. In my case – being a 6-foot-tall man wearing a hooded sweatshirt – that answer was easy: Call Me Maybe.

2. Get a friend who can sing well to go up on stage with you: Remember, this friend is helping you sing Call Me Maybe. You now owe that friend a BIG favor.

3. Get a man dressed as Santa Claus to dance behind you while you are singing, thus distracting the audience: Probably the hardest of the three tips to make happen. Good luck with this one.

Going for Gusto is a blog by Joe Grace. Columns, videos, lists and quick thoughts posted throughout the week. Send questions, comments and blog ideas to

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