5 Tips for Being the Best Karaoke DJ Host

There’s a lot involved in being a good karaoke DJ, KJ (Karaoke Jock) or karaoke host. You have a big responsibility to both the venue owner, whether it’s a bar, club or special event, and to the guests. You’re in charge of making sure that everyone both has a great time, and to keep things organised and run a smooth operation. So how can you be a good karaoke DJ? 

We’ll go through each of these tips individually, but here are our top 5 tips for being the best KJ. 
How to be an awesome karaoke host: 
  • Choose the best karaoke setup and equipment 
  • Have a good system for song selection 
  • Be encouraging
  • Keep it entertaining and fun 
  • Maintain your professionalism 
Let’s jump in and talk about each of these tips in detail to make sure you host the best karaoke show possible! 

Choose the Best Karaoke Setup

Before you get to the karaoke show, you need to make sure you have the best possible karaoke equipment you can afford. Some venues have their own karaoke system already, in which case, you need to check it put before the night to make sure you know what you’re doing. But most venues require you to bring your own karaoke setup to the party. So what is good karaoke equipment? 

Good Sound Quality 

Of course, you can’t skimp on quality when it comes to a professional karaoke setup. Make sure you purchase a karaoke machine and microphones with low feedback and a clear, crisp, balanced sound. A good karaoke sound system can make even the worst singers sound bearable! Plus you don’t want seasoned pros complaining that the sound quality hindered there performance. 

Easy to Setup 

Your karaoke system needs to be setup quickly and easily to maximise your time best. You don’t have to get really basic equipment, but make sure you know how to set it up and have tried it at home. Think about portability when you’re in the market for karaoke kit. Having a lightweight and easy to transport setup will make life a lot easier. Also make sure it’s compatible with the venue and that you can plug everything in safely. And make sure all the wires are out of the way and your equipment doesn’t cause a tripping hazard.

Additional Features 

Some extra things you might want to think about for your professional karaoke setup include: 
  • Having extra microphones so more people can get involved. Two microphones is the bare minimum, but up to four would be handy.
  • Make sure you can fully adjust the microphone volume without having to hold the microphone so you have full control. 
  • Some karaoke machines have additional features such as echo, reverb and auto tune which can be great if you want to take your karaoke event to the next level. 
Take a look at our list of the 12 best karaoke machines for some great professional options perfect for karaoke hosts.

Good System for Song Selection

The next thing you need to think about to be the best KJ, is your song selection. It doesn’t matter what format you’re using, whether it’s CDG, a karaoke app or even YouTube, you need to make sure you have a good choice of songs. 
Having said that, you don’t want to have too much choice. Or at least, too much that your guests know about. So, you may have over 50,000 songs to choose from, but if your guests know that, it’ll cause too many problems. For one, it’ll take people way too long to choose. Plus, the chances are that not all of those songs are actually that great. And if someone makes a bad song choice, it could really kill the vibe.
The best approach, is to have around 200 songs available to choose from that suit the atmosphere you’re going for. If you’re in a trendy modern bar, someone jumping on the mic to sing “Sweet Caroline” might kill the mood a bit. On the other hand, if you know your audience like some cheesy or older hits, then make sure they’re available. So consider the venue and audience when making your setlist. 
Once you’ve chosen the songs you want to have on offer, you’ll need a system to allow performers to select them. You’ll need to have songbooks available for everyone to browse through. Don’t be stingy and just make one songbook, have at least a few on the go. If people have to queue too long to choose a song, they might just not bother. 
There are a few different methods for recording people’s song choices. You can get the guests to just come up to you and tell you their request. But this approach doesn’t tend to work well as you’ll constantly get interrupted and struggle to hear people over the cloud music.
Instead, you should have a notebook with a heading for the performers name, song title and any additional requests. That way it’s all recorded and helps you to keep track of the running order. 

Be Encouraging

Take yourself back to the first time you performed at a karaoke bar. You were probably pretty nervous and reluctant and maybe a bit shy. That’s exactly how some people in your venue will be feeling! 
There are of course some seasoned karaoke professionals who love jumping on the mic week in week out, but there are also some people who want to perform, but just need some encouragement. That’s where you come in.
You can encourage people to get involved by having regular announcements to try and give nervous performers a bit more confidence. But one of the best ways of encouraging people, is to be approachable. 
We’ve all been to karaoke venues where the DJ seems pretty disinterested and a little miserable, or sometimes a bit snappy. You need to do the exact opposite. Make sure you are always smiling and open to people approaching your DJ booth. That way, they won’t feel too nervous to request a song.
Also, make sure you introduce each performer properly, and ask everyone to give them a cheer or round of applause. The same goes when the performance is over. Thank each person and shake their hand if you can.  This way, people will feel a lot more relaxed about the process and be a lot more encouraged to get involved, and come back next time! 

Be Entertaining

Not only do you have to encourage people to get involved, but you also have to entertain! This way, the venue owner will be impressed and want to hire you again, and the guests will be eager to come back next time. 

Entertainment Ideas 

Some karaoke hosts simply go through the motions and just let each singer perform in turn for a few hours, then pack up and head home. But there are plenty of ways to make it more interesting! 
For example, if your venue allows it, you can give a free drink or shot voucher to each performer to encourage people to get involved. 
You can even have a lucky dip style prize where each player gets to choose something from the bag once they’ve performed. The prizes don’t have to be big, but adding another element just makes things more interesting.
You can even make your karaoke show into a competition. Get each performer to sing and then your audience can vote for their favourite. This can either be by writing it down on a scrap of paper, or by asking the audience to cheer for their favourite singer! 

Keep the Breaks Entertaining 

You’ll also need to think about how you can keep your guests entertained during your breaks. 
When you’re hosting for a few hours, you’re likely to need at least one break. But try and keep it short if you can. Don’t leave the party for more than 10 minutes or it can start to affect the atmosphere. 
When you’re on a break, make sure you play some good tracks that your audience can listen to whilst they wait for you to come back. 

Be Professional

The final thing we want to mention, is about being professional. Of course your role is to be an entertaining and engaging karaoke party host, but you need to maintain professionalism at all times. Here are the top tips for being a fun but professional KJ.
  • Keep your language tasteful when making any announcements. 
  • Dress to impress and make sure you stick to the venues dress code.
  • Make sure you’re always on time and setup well before you’re due to perform. 
  • Make an effort with the bar staff to be polite and friendly.
  • Don’t get carried away with the drinks. Some venues offer free drinks to the karaoke DJ, but try to refrain until you’re off duty.

So that’s it! Those are our top tips for being a great karaoke DJ or host. Head over to our guide on the best karaoke machines to get the best setup for your budget! 

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