The 7-Day Blogtown Karaoke-a-Thon rolls on, visiting a different Portland karaoke hotspot every night and reviewing the best and worst places in town to sing your heart out. We also decided to ask the experts — the KJs who emcee the magic night after night — about what makes a karaoke performance a hit or a flop, how the hell they decide what song to put up next, and why it isn't yours. First up is Darryl Zero, the KJ at Devil's Point Stripparaoke.
DARRYL ZERO: I love that the dancers are the center of attention. It's easy, because for people that would feel uncomfortable singing at other places, there's deflection of both negative and positive attention. At normal karaoke — I don't want to say shit rolls downhill, but all the problems collect at the bottom with the singer. With the dancers there, there's a different dimension.
What's the worst performance you've ever seen?
If someone's so drunk that they're falling down, they could sing the best song in the world and it wouldn't matter. Also, anyone who wants to sing Meatloaf at Stripparaoke really needs to be stabbed in the stomach. Dancers have to stay up there for like 8 minutes to the most godawful piece of excrement.
What's the best performance you've ever seen?
There was this a long-haired metal dude that came in, planted himself on the stage and just sang the hell out of “Mother” by Danzig. People couldn't throw money on the stage fast enough. Really, the best performance is anybody that makes people want to give money to the strippers.
What's your philosophy on song rotation?
Before 11 PM, it's just a clear linear order of when people turn songs in. After 11 PM, I try to do 2-3 singers that haven't sung yet for every 1-2 that have sung. After 1 AM, it's more of the dancer's preference. She might not want to dance to “Night Moves,” but she might want to dance to “I Want Your Sex.”
What do you wish that more people knew before they got up to sing?
That there is precious little I haven't seen. From a technical standpoint, know when to back off the mic if you're going to belt it out. Also, that it's a strip club, and that this is the dancer's stage — remember that.