A standup comedian sparked the debate among karaoke die-hards about which song is the best to perform in front of a crowd.
Ben Brainard, who is also a US Army reservist, prefaced his list as being for educational purposes only because he was tired of walking into bars and hearing poor renditions of hit songs.
“If you don’t know what makes a good karaoke song, that’s fine, I’m here and I’m objectively correct when I say these things,” Brainard told his nearly 3 million TikTok followers.
He didn’t list the classic hits in any order, but gave first nod to three-time Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson.
“This is in no particular order but topping the list is Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since You’ve Been Gone,’ obviously.”
The second song on the comedian’s list was Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” which Brainard called a “great song, even better karaoke.”
“Come on Eileen” was third on Brainard’s list, saying he didn’t care what people thought about the song in other social situations, but the Dexys Midnight Runners’ hit was a good song for karaoke.
“Number four, this is a good middle. Don’t start the day with this and do not end your night with this song. But this is a good middle song that people are going to enjoy, and of course it’s Weezer’s ‘Island in the Sun.’”
Brainard, known for his sketches titled “The Table” where he retells current events by acting as the different US states, ended his list with what he called a controversial song: R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.”
“Why is this controversial Ben? that’s just a decent song,” Brainard asks. “Listen to me, if you get on a karaoke stage with a mic in your hand and you’ve written down the words R.E.M.’s and that song comes on and you don’t know every single word then what everyone is about to listen to is going to be the worst thing they’ve ever heard in their lives, no saving it.”
Brainards list was met with mixed reactions, with some agreeing with the comedian and others offering with what they thought were better songs.
“Tequilla. Best karaoke song,” one TikTok user said, getting a “boo” from Brainard.
“For the Brits “I’m gonna be (500 miles)” perfect karaoke song,” another wrote.
Some were surprised that crowd favorites such as “Sweet Carolina,” “Mr. Brightside,” or “Piano Man,” weren’t mentioned at all.
“We sang Living on a Prayer with about 55K people in a stadium last weekend,” a reference to Bon Jovi’s hit 1986 single. “I’d say it’s a good song for Karaoke.”
Fellow comedian Frank Caliendo joined in the conversation by simply saying Brainard was “WRONG!”
“Literally, any song by Weird Al Yankovic is a good karaoke song,” one commenter wrote on YouTube. “Even better if you choose the song it’s a parody of, but still sing Weird Al’s lyrics.”
“Similarly to The End of the World as We Know It, Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire is a song that will be instantly thrown off by a single missed phrase,” another YouTube comment read. “You miss one, and you’re f–ked for the rest of the song.”
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