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Karaoke Flu

V. Jenkins

Recently, while hosting, I noticed a singer approaching me, doe-eyed, and smiling tentatively. Once we made contact, she told me at length how she had been sick with the flu, etc., and that was why I hadn't seen her for a number of weeks. I nodded at her explanation, and finally had to interrupt her to tell her to grab a seat, get a drink, and put a song in, as always. Oh, she had the flue all right--the Karaoke Flu.

The Karaoke Flu can strike anyone who frequents an establishment that features Karaoke. For whatever reason, singers or even regular audience members occasionally stop coming to a show, either temporarily or permanently. Some of the reasons include moving, complications from romantic relationships, checking out the "flavor of the month," dissatisfaction with service, and a host of other occurrences that can make a show less convenient or desirable for former, if not future, patrons. Which explanations are valid? The answer is, all of them.

Just as singers don't "own" songs, KJs don't "own" singers! We need to acknowledge and embrace the dynamics of our constantly evolving karaoke scene. While "regulars" are a must, and form the backbone of most shows, it is always exciting to have "new" singers come in and add to the festivities. It stands to reason that regulars are usually people who were once "new" patrons! I have been in a situation where my core of singers all moved away within a few week's time. Fortunately, additional singers were coming to the show, and soon I had a new core of singers! Even now, it's very heartening to have a new singer show up on a Saturday night, and then return on Sunday after learning that I'm working on Sunday also.

My most important point on this subject is that the KJs and "flubies" need to avoid awkwardness and discomfort when someone returns after having the Karaoke Flu. There is no reason to grill someone with "where were you" if they're back with you right? And usually, the KJ will know if you've been singing somewhere else, so you may look silly offering a sheepish grin and saying that you "had the flu." Of course, some KJs give somewhat favorable treatment to their regulars, and a bout with the Karaoke Flu could jeopardize your status...


My advice is, don't ask, and don't tell (I am not expressing any opinion on the military usage of this phrase).



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