Someone ought to devise a mathematical formula that correlates the level of alcohol consumption with one’s tendency to think that karaoke on a cruise is a really good idea.
Why are karaoke evenings on ships almost always held late at night? Because the vast majority of Brits need a good few cocktails inside them before they get up and sing, that’s why. If ‘sing’ is the right word. Karaoke may have been invented by the Japanese in all seriousness, but surely Brits have only ever taken it ironically. Until now.
Now, we live in the age of the X Factor, where anybody has the potential to be a star and even the truly atrocious get their moment of fame. Throw the hit American show Glee into the mix and we murder dance routines as well as songs.
Cruise lines are cleverly tapping into this Fame mentality by stepping their karaoke offerings up a notch, taking it professional, with a live band and backing singers, recording opportunities and performances (heaven forbid) on giant screens. Check out today’s news story on Cruise Critic. Soon, cruise ships won’t need professional entertainers.
But the thing is, does anybody actually enjoy karaoke unless a) the performer is so bad it’s laughable b) the performer is their loved one/child or c) they actually are the performer and are drunk enough or brilliant enough not to care? Do we really want the full-blown X Factor at sea?
Judging by the ongoing poll on Cruise Critic UK today, we don’t: When posed with the question “Karaoke with a live band on a cruise is…?”, the answer “…an activity that should be banned” is currently in the lead, with 40% of the vote. (“A good idea after a few drinks” is in second place, incidentally. Do add your own vote!)
My own observations are that American cruisers (and forgive the cultural stereotyping) are generally much more polished karaoke performers than most Brits, because they work at it. They practice, they know the songs, they perform in little groups or pairs and have perfected their harmonies and steps. They don’t make fools of themselves.
We, on the other hand, are either dismal pub crooners, hen parties who think they’re Lady Gaga, the odd warbling Whitney, or, annoyingly, the occasional glamorous one who can actually sing but would be described by Simon Cowell as ‘a bit cruise ship’.
While I personally welcome diverse entertainment at sea, I’m not sure we Brits will find stardom in the new karaoke lounges. It’s all too much of a joke to us. SJB