Thursday night karaoke gets a new spin

Melissa Dilley

Every Thursday night in the dimly lit Rathskeller, students gather to share pizza and laughs – which are mostly directed toward their friends and dorm mates as they perform on stage.

For the last eight years, every week at 9 p.m., the bar stage is set up for karaoke. This year however, Kent State Campus Programming added a twist that it hopes will attract more students to the event and keep the atmosphere fun and entertaining.

This year, the all new “Killer Wheel of Karaoke” will be determining song choices.

Thursday Night Karaoke

WHEN: Every Thursday at 9 p.m.

WHERE: Rathskeller (basement of the Student Center)

Students must show their I.D. to enter.

Bailie Kraiger, the organization’s event programmer and karaoke host, said they introduced the wheel because the focus of the event is to provide a place where students can have fun and feel welcome on campus. Kraiger said in the past that was not the case because students would sing the same songs every week and treat it like a competition.

“It’s not a talent show,” Kraiger said. “It’s just about having fun and having a place to be yourself and not have to be worried about what other students think. At other bars around town or in a different atmosphere, maybe students would be more reluctant to get on stage.”

Kraiger said the wheel, which has 12 different categories including 80s rock, “Beatlemania” and “You’re no Diva,” is optional, but the students who spin get a prize for taking the chance. Once students spin the wheel to determine their category, they can chose from a list of songs that fit into that genre.

Sophomore English major Connor Shivers was the first ever, and one of two students who spun the wheel the first week it was introduced. Shivers said he was lucky because he landed on a category he was familiar with.

“I just figured I would take a shot and see what would happen,” Shivers said. “There really is a no-pressure atmosphere. Plus, I got a new DVD.”

In the first week of the event, spinners got to chose from new movies as their prizes, but Kraiger said the prizes will differ weekly, along with the wheel categories.

The other student, a male, wasn’t as lucky as Shivers, and his spin landed on the “You’re no Diva” category. He belted out the tune “Lady Marmalade,” complete with a French accent and dance moves.

For those who do not want to take the chance and land on an unfamiliar category, there are more than 14,000 songs to choose from which range from 1950s ballads to current hits of all genres.

Kalli Connor, graduate anthropology and architecture major, said she decided not to spin the wheel because she has a history with karaoke, and she said she knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for her first song.

“I have been singing karaoke since I was ten because my brother is a DJ,” Connor said. “I have learned I need a warm-up song. Maybe I would spin the wheel after I sing a few I picked.”

The event lasts until everyone who wants to is done singing. If there is time, students can sing more than one song, but to keep up the momentum everyone gets a chance to sing before repeat performances.

Even if students aren’t interested in spinning the wheel or picking a song, the crowd is just as participatory as the singers. Students clapped their hands to the beat and sang the background verses to the songs.

Freshmen Ryan Hopkins and Hannah Neumann said they came to the Rathskeller not to sing, but to watch. Kraiger said students who come to watch are just as important to make up the atmosphere as those who sing.

“Having the different elements in the crowd makes it more interesting,” she said. “This event is my favorite because it brings out so many different personalities from people that in other settings, we might never see.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].