Saturday, October 14, 2017

When it seems like 2 hours since you got up to's just a long rotation

Updated June 12, 2021

¡Hola, mis cantantes! Lately I've had more than the usual number of singers challenge me on the rotation, saying I must have skipped them because it's been so long since they had a turn at the microphone. Fortunately, I can invite these singers to look at the list on my laptop and show them that they'll be up shortly. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to make the time go faster. As recently-departed Tom Petty tells us, "The waiting is the hardest part."

Karaoke Night One by Cameron Sczerba, aka DJ Cam (caution: strong language)
In the SMA Karaoke Club page on Facebook I posted a humorous video about how KJs (karaoke jockeys) feel when singers beg to be moved up on the list for any number of reasons—all of which boil down to a sense that "I'm more important than everyone else" or "I deserve special treatment even though it will inconvenience everyone else." I don't understand why anyone thinks that. Hey, ALL of you are equally special to me!

Sometimes I move people up in the list because they want to use their turn to sing "Happy Birthday" or "Las Mañanitas" to someone while the candles are still burning on the cake. I don't think anyone minds waiting a few minutes longer for that. But I won't move you up because you're leaving or because you were here earlier and feel you should sing more often.

Here's how the rotation works:
  1. Two factors determine the order of singers (the "rotation"): physical presence and the order in which I receive your song requests. You can send your song requests ahead of time if you like, but if someone else walks in before you and gives me a request, they'll sing first. 
  2. Please don't text me and say, "I'm on my way over, can you put me on the list?" That doesn't count as physical presence, even if you give me a song request. I will put you on the list once I see that you've arrived, and you will always have time to get settled and order a drink before your turn comes up.
  3. In one hour, there is time for 12-15 songs. If we have only 6 singers, everyone sings twice the first hour.
  4. By the second hour, usually we have at least 12-15 singers, and that means everyone sings only once, if at all.
  5. On a busy night when the rotation includes more than 15 singers, I do my best to be fair and not let one big table take up more than a quarter of an hour at once, even if they give me a dozen song requests. I try to break it up so we have singers taking turns from all around the room. Also, I take myself out of the rotation so you get more time to sing.
  6. NEW: Before the pandemic, if you walked in and gave me a song request just as the last singer in the rotation was up, you got to sing right away, but I'm changing that. Now, each new singer will be placed in the rotation just BEFORE the current singer. That means everyone who got there before you gets one more turn to sing (because you're at the end of that line), and everyone who gets there after you will sing after you. 
  7. HERE'S WHAT FEELS UNFAIR (BUT IT ISN'T): You arrive early to beat the crowd, and you get to sing right away, maybe even two or three times. Then a big group arrives and they all give me song requests. Suddenly you're waiting 60-90 minutes between turns, and before you know it, the night is gone and you've only done half the songs you requested. Maybe your friends beg you to sing one more but you never get to because the rotation gets too long and the show is over. THE GOOD NEWS IS, new singers are now being placed in rotation before the current singer (which may be you). But after that it may be a longer wait, and we may have to close before your next turn comes up. That's why it's never a good idea to save your best song for last, and it's why I cannot accommodate requests to "close out the night" with your song if it's not your turn.
    Karaoke is complicated. This is what I'm dealing with while
    a singer is yelling into my ear in rapid Spanish about a song
    they want me to get on YouTube, which I won't do because I
    operate a piracy-free show. I do my best to be polite, but...
  8. As your host, I reserve the right to change my mind about how the rotation works. But no matter what, there will always be one constant: more singers equals a longer wait. Usually more singers also equals more FUN, though, so it's a good trade-off.
  9. I also reserve the right to cut off new song requests once it appears we have enough to fill out the night (usually about an hour before closing time). 
  10. Duplicate song requests are not permitted. If you submit a request and then hear someone else sing it before you, it means they got their request in before you, and you must choose another song. Remember, you can always change your song when you get to the stage, so don't worry if we don't get to all of your requests in one night. They'll be in your queue for next time!
Now that I've explained how the rotation works, I have TWO FAVORS to ask you, dear cantantes:

First, if you hear someone complaining about how long it takes for them to have a turn, or badmouthing me because they think I'm unfair or that I skipped them or ignored their request, tell them to please talk to ME, since I'm the only one who can show them when their turn is coming up. Shout-out to Barb Goushaw here, as she has explained the rotation to newbies several times, and I consider her a Karaoke Annie Concierge for that reason.

Florida KJ Harry Smith, aka Harryoke,
sticks this sign on his laptop when
customers get drunk and obnoxious.
(Note: Even KJs make mistakes, and if do I inadvertently skip someone, I get them up as quickly as I can. Also, you'd be surprised at how many times I get a request for a song with no name on it, and I do my best to figure out who gave it to me, but you need to fill out the slip or I have no way of knowing that you want to sing.)

Second, if you have suggestions for how to run the rotation better than I do, please let me know. There are two generally accepted practices in karaoke: (1) add singers to the end of the rotation no matter when they arrive, and they sing in turn even if it's right away (so you think you're up next and then all of a sudden you have to wait 20 minutes for five new singers to take their turns)—this is what I did pre-pandemic; or (2) add new singers right before the current singer on stage—which I think will work better now.

Also, I like to show a numbered list of singers who have a request in, so (A) you know if your turn is coming up soon, and (B) if your name doesn't show up when it's supposed to, you know you're out of songs in queue and you should hurry up and put in a request. 

I could show several names with or without songs, but
then some people think they can sing even if they haven't
put in a song request. That's confusing and causes delays.

Love karaoke but feel you never get to sing enough?
The answer is to hire me for a private party, or sing on your own at home with karaoke videos on YouTube. There is nothing illegal about private home use of copyrighted material. But then you won't have an audience—and it's the crowd and the camaraderie that make karaoke so much fun, right? With a private party, you control the number of singers through your invitation list. For more information on private parties by Karaoke Annie Entertainment, click here.

Comments? Questions? Leave 'em for me below. Thanks for reading!

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