Every year for... uh... a long time now, I've hosted karaoke at Anime Mid-Atlantic. It's a Japanese entertainment-centric competition where attendees can get up and sing for the crowd for a chance to win some awesome prizes courtesy of the event and our vendors.
I'm also pleased to say it is one of the most supportive con events I've ever participated in.
No joke, live karaoke in front of people is one of the toughest things you can do, especially when there's an audience vs. performer setup with a stage and everything. You may tell yourself it's your buddies, fellow attendees, people who are just as nervous as you... but it can still be scary. I've seen my fair share of people get up there with visibly shaking hands.
But you know what's really great about con karaoke in general and AMA karaoke specifically? You have support. Even if you forget your words, or hit the wrong note, or maybe the song makes you emotional, the entire crowd (and staff) has your back. I do warn in the rules that heckling and booing will get you ejected from the event, but I've never once in all my time hosting for AMA had to make good on that.
Last year in particular was, as my staff and I told each other, probably the huggiest karaoke we've ever done. There was so much support and enthusiasm everywhere, and it reminded me why I still do this every year even though con prep is stressful and I'm dividing my time between the event and promoting for Onezumi Events. I just feel so good afterwards, because everyone has fun and is so happy. And that's the best feeling.
Now, there is one little thing I like to do differently from other con karaoke, which is Nightmare Mode. What is that? Well, two contestants sign up completely blind. They don't know what they're singing, they just get dealer's choice. I then send them music, lyrics, and (if it's available) an instrumental track. The song could be old-school, weird, or just plain difficult. But it will be a challenge. They sing during judging for the other singers, and they walk off with a prize no matter what because they took the plunge and dared to try something new.
I can't wait to do this again for 2017, and entries are already rolling in! If you're in the mid-Atlantic, why not register for AMA? It's currently $50 for a full weekend pass. Then be sure to register for karaoke. To keep things on a theme, we accept songs from anime, J-drama, and games/shows of Japanese origin. And we'd love to have you join us!
See you this June!