As a sometimes observer and never participant of karaoke, I may not be the most qualified person in the world to write hard and steadfast rules for the game. However, after a karaoke outing over the weekend I've got some ideas. They're not quite guidelines, they're a little more firm than that, so lets just throw spelling to the wind and call them rulez:
1. Don't pick a song whose words you don't actually know.
This seems obvious right? Sadly, it's apparently not obvious to everyone. Now, I don't mean you have to have the song absolutely memorized, but at least be able to quote the chorus without the aid of the original.
2. Know your audience.
Unless you're really, really, really good (we're talking professional opera-singer good here) stay away from the ballad. It's got sentimental value, I get it. But that's why you've got a mirror and a hairbrush. This is karaoke--we're drunk and we want to dance, please don't bum the rest of us out.
3. Remember, you are not Whitney Houston.
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is the only exception.
4. Get drunk.
Responsibility is important. However, if you've got plans to get on stage to rock you're going to need some liquid courage.
5. Not that drunk.
Being wasted enough to do a Billy Idol impression is great. Being wasted enough to do a Jim Morrison in New Haven is not.
Got your own rulez? Lemme know. I'm trying to build up the guts to (someday) get up there myself.
Karokelistings.com has a whole database of karoke around Albuquerque and the US (it's good to do out of town where no one knows you). Is it up to date? Probably not...