Karaoke Contest Ideas

Written by megan burns
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Karaoke Contest Ideas
Dust off your vocal chords for this karaoke competition. (Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Search for the next rising musical star with a karaoke contest. Keep contestants nourished with a variety of Japanese-inspired snacks, and set the mood with creative decorations. Use a special theme to help narrow the focus of your song selections, and offer several different award categories to celebrate participants' singing efforts.

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Go for glitz and glam with your decorating scheme. If you aren't hosting the contest in a karaoke bar, set up a stage in your event space; this can be as complex as building a wooden stage and painting it, or as simple as placing a tacky throw rug in front of the karaoke screen, so choose an option that suits your time constraints and budget. Lighting is also critical, so set up a variety of tacky lights including spinning disco balls, coloured string lights, lava lamps or whatever else you can get your hands on. And finally, think anything sparkly to complete the look; this means shiny tablecloths, glittery wall decor and anything else that you think the lights will catch nicely.


Karaoke originated in Japan, so pay homage to its cultural roots with a spread of Japanese snacks. Serve a tray of sushi for bite-size snacks, or offer easy-to-eat skewered options like teriyaki chicken. Serve snacks like edamame or wasabi peas, and provide a selection of Japanese beverages like sake or tea. For your dessert menu, serve bite-size Japanese sweet treats like Japanese candy or mochi, which is a round, glutinous rice flour dumpling filled with sweet items including jellies, jams and ice cream. For the less-adventurous eaters, provide standard party foods like vegetables and dip, pigs in blankets and other bite-size snacks.

Song Themes

While you could certainly offer the traditional extensive song selections, try narrowing the focus by choosing a special theme for the contest. For instance, choose a specific genre for contestants to draw from, like country music or classic rock. You could also choose a specific word or idea and have contestants choose songs based on their interpretations of the selected theme. Another option would be to hold several rounds in the competition, choosing a specific theme for each one and eliminating contestants as the rounds progress.


The most coveted award for your karaoke competition will undoubtedly be the title of best singer, but make things interesting by offering several different awards to contestants. For instance, you could give out awards in categories like best voice projection, most theatrical performance, or for a funny one, worst voice; one of the best things about karaoke is that anyone, even terrible singers, can belt out their favourites and be accepted, so this prize should be received with good humour. Give each award recipient a certificate or trophy, and for the contestant who wins best singer, offer a grand prize package with items like gift tokens. If you decide to award the worst singer at the competition, present him with several prepaid singing lessons for a laugh.

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