Belt our your best ballad and sing to your heart’s content.
With a library of over 7,000 anime, J-rock, J-pop, and video game related songs, the Karaoke Room is a great place to stop by during Open Mic to spend time with friends—sing a song, either on stage or with the crowd. Don’t know all the lyrics to the song you want to sing? Nearly all the songs in our library include lyrics, and select popular ones have timed lyrics which make it even easier to sing along.
Browse the song selection
Throughout the weekend, the Karaoke Room also hosts a variety of contests and themed sessions.
Hours of Operation
- Day 1 (July 1): 12 PM – 2 AM
- Day 2 (July 2): 12 PM – 2 AM
- Day 3 (July 3): 12 PM – 2 AM
- Day 4 (July 4): 12 PM – 4 PM
Information about all the events and contests that take place during Anime Expo in the karaoke room can be found below.
More details about when each contest will take place and how to enter TBA.
Karaoke en Español Open Mic
Come sing your favorite anime themes, now in Spanish! During this time block, those who sign up for a song in Spanish will get priority over English and Japanese songs. Our database now includes the classic Latin-American dub songs from your childhood in their original TV and full versions, as well as many other popular Spanish language songs!
¡Ven a cantar tus canciones favoritas de anime, ahora en español! Durante este horario los que se apunten para cantar en español tendrán prioridad sobre los que canten en inglés o japonés. Nuestro catálogo ahora incluye los temas del doblaje latino clásico de tu infancia en sus versiones originales y completas, y muchas mas canciones populares en español.
Have you been remixing your favorite theme song at clubs around town? Got the perfect clarinet arrangement of that Naruto song? Does your band love to cover video game music? Then this is for you! Acoustikaraoke is a chance for non-vocal musicians to show off their talents through instrumental numbers, original arrangements, and ensemble performances.
Bring your A-game for one of our oldest and most popular events! For more than fifteen years, the AX Karaoke Contest has been the proving ground for singers looking to showcase their talent with music from anime and J-pop/J-rock. Whether you’re a hardcore contestant or an easygoing first-timer, have fun and sing your heart out in either individual or group categories, or double your pleasure and go for both! For more information about Karaoke rules, please click the “Karaoke Contest Rules” tab above.
Karaoke Gong Show
Snark runs high at the Karaoke Gong Show, where contestants turn convention on its head in an all-out battle to be the worst of the evening! The Karaoke Gong Show is a karaoke-themed skit and comedy performance show where wacky ideas have a place to flower! Contestants strive to outdo one another as a panel of veteran karaoke judges offers scathing and relentless criticism. Participation is not for the faint of heart, but if you can have a good laugh at your own expense, the Karaoke Gong Show is your moment to shine!
Please note: Due to time constraints, we require Karaoke Gong Show participants to provide a brief description of their act with a Senior Karaoke Staffer prior to approval for entry into the contest.
(Suggested Audience: 15+; Participation: 18+)
Name that Karaoke!
Do you spend more time in the karaoke room at con than anyone else? Do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of anime music? Can you correctly identify the English version of Simple and Clean based on the first four bars played backwards? If you can, or if you’d just like to try, come on down to Name That Karaoke, the Karaoke game show! This event is one where karaoke fans and non-singing music lovers can shine the brightest and use their wits, rather than their voices, to win it all!
Due to the contest formats, signups for this event will be taken at-con.
Ultimate Karaoke Fighting Championship
A grand tradition for Karaoke, participants in the UKFC tournament are given a series of random challenges, ranging from song knowledge and improv skills to quirky and offbeat vocal techniques. A grab-bag approach to thematic challenges makes this a fun and unpredictable event where anyone with a little confidence and versatility can wind up on top.
Due to the contest formats, signups for this event will be taken at-con.
- The contest is open to all registered convention attendees. You must have a valid badge for the day(s) of the contest.
- There is no additional cost to register for the contest.
- Convention Staff and Crew, Guests of Honor, and Industry badge holders are not eligible for the contest.
- Any documentation required by the convention for participation, if applicable, must be completed by the time of check-in.
- Contestants may compete in both Individual and Group categories if they desire.
- The previous year’s first place winner may not compete in the same category they won, but they may compete in the other category or in any of the Mini-Contests.
- Anime song requirement. At least one of your song choices (i.e., one round) must be from an anime series, movie, or OVA.
- Anime. For purposes of this rule, anime is defined as a commercially-produced animated production from Japan.
- Image Songs. Image songs (defined as songs which aren’t necessarily used in an anime, but are on the soundtrack) are acceptable.
- Live-Action Spin-off. Songs from the live-action version of an anime (for example, the live action Sailor Moon) are also acceptable.
- Dub Songs. English or other non-Japanese songs from the commercially dubbed version of an anime series or video game are acceptable. (For example, Ricardo Silva’s Spanish-language dub of “Cha-la, Head-cha-la,” or songs from Robotech.)
- Fan Dubs. Fan dubs do not meet this requirement.
- Western animation. Songs from non-Japanese animation studios (Disney, Cartoon Network, etc) do not fulfill this requirement and are not acceptable for the general contest.
- Notwithstanding the above requirements, songs from Rwby (Rooster Teeth Productions) are acceptable.
- Jojo Rule. English songs which were not originally created for an anime series or video game, or straight covers of such songs (for example, Fly Me To The Moon [Evangelion], Walk Like an Egyptian [JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure], or any other “popular” Western song used as an anime series theme song) are not allowed.
- General eligibility. All songs must be from one of the following categories:
- Anime series, movie, or OVA, as defined above.
- Video game. Vocal tracks used in any released video game from any region.
- “Doujin” and indie games are acceptable as long as they have been publicly released or exhibited in a generally-available format.
- Fan-created lyrics to video game BGM is not acceptable unless it has been given a significant treatment and released publicly. (“Air Man ga Taosenai” is acceptable; Ska singing “Adventures of Lolo” on YouTube is not.)
- Touhou rule. Touhou is fine.
- J-pop or J-rock. Commercially-available or established indie releases by bands from Japan.
- K-pop. Commercially-available popular music from Korea.
- Vocaloid. Popular, publicly-released songs featuring Vocaloid synthesizers.
- Covers and remixes.
- Covers of Western songs that are significantly changed or adapted from the original version (for example, Angela Aki’s Japanese-language cover of Kiss From a Rose) are acceptable under limited circumstances, at the discretion of Karaoke staff. Please ask us for advance approval if you believe your song falls in this category.
- Remixes that have appeared on an officially released CD (for example, one of the many different remixes by Ayumi Hamasaki) are also acceptable.
- “Doujin”/fan-made content and closely related materials. Fan-created content from established anime-related internet communities (2ch, NicoNico Douga, etc.) is acceptable. The final determination of “well-established” rests solely with Karaoke staff. If you are competing with a song in this category, please ask our staff to review your selection for eligibility.
- Acceptable “doujin” (fan/community-produced) songs include: medleys, meme songs, vocaloid originals, and arrangements that add vocals to an existing instrumental piece.
- Unacceptable doujin songs include: pitch-shifted or otherwise altered originals, pre-recorded vocals, covers that do not significantly adapt the original work, “filking,” and unreleased or self-produced (by the contestant and/or contestant’s friends/band/etc.) material.
☆ If you are in doubt as to whether a song is acceptable for the contest, please ask us before signing up, and we will make a ruling.
- Deliverables. We expect you to provide your song in one of the following deliverable formats: Database number (from our system) or self-provided physical media, as specified below.
- Database selections. You may provide a song number from our database, available for browsing at http://anime-karaoke.com.
- Songs should be indicated as a “Karaoke” track. Songs that do not have a “Karaoke” variant will need to be vocal dampened and may sound significantly different from the original.
- We do not guarantee the availability or accuracy of any song or lyrics listed in our database.
- Self-provided physical media. You may provide your own music for the contest on a portable flash drive or audio CD, with restrictions:
- No iPods, MDs, portable music devices, or cassettes are allowed in the contest.
- mp3, m4a, flac, wav, or aiff files must be submitted on a PC/Mac-readable USB flash drive. This is a required format for submission if your track will require vocal dampening.
- A CD with standard CD-audio format (Red Book) is allowed if your tracks do not require additional vocal dampening.
- Please check your media before submitting it and make sure it works in a standard player.
- If submitting your own CD specifically for the contest:
- Please write your name on your CD.
- Track 1 should be your preliminary song.
- Track 2 should be your semi-finals song (finals song if group).
- Track 3 should be your finals song (for individuals only).
- When the contest is over, please claim your CD. We are not responsible for lost or unclaimed CDs. All unclaimed CDs will be disposed of at the end of the convention weekend.
- If submitting materials on a USB flash drive:
- Have a readme.txt file on the USB drive containing your name, email address, and phone number.
- Include your prelim, semis (if applicable) and finals song on the USB flash drive in a single folder.
- If possible, no other files should be contained on your drive.
- When the contest is over, please collect your USB flash drive. All unclaimed USB flash drives will be disposed of at the end of the convention weekend.
- Lyrics. Contestants should bring their own song lyrics, if needed. The lyrics you sing must be the original lyrics from the song.
- Audio alterations. Your audio file may not be altered in any way from the original source, with the following exceptions:
- Vocal dampening. Fan-made “karaoke versions” are allowed.
- Count-off and pitch-centering additions. You may add a metronomic cue or chordal “start tones” to center yourself vocally before the beginning of a song.
- Fade-outs and cropping. You may fade or crop your song to accommodate the time limit for your round or at any point within that time limit (at a “TV size” fade point, for example).
- Please see the “Song Length” section for more details.
- Pitch-shifting. You may modify the pitch of your source audio provided that no other excluded alterations are made.
- Encoding. You may encode or decode, change file format, or otherwise change compression levels, bitrate, etc. as required for technical purposes (converting a .wav file to an .mp3, for example) so long as the audio modifications are imperceptible.
- Notification. You MUST notify us at check-in of any permitted audio alterations (as indicated above). Failure to notify our staff may subject you to immediate disqualification.
- Prohibited alterations. While all non-exempted audio changes (as defined above) are prohibited, the following are subject to immediate disqualification: Tempo modification, remix/mash-up work, or the addition of any prerecorded vocals, backup vocals, instrumentals, or other materials made by a contestant. This is a karaoke contest, not a music production contest.
- Karaoke tracks and vocal dampening. We want to hear your singing voice, not those of the original singers. To that end, tracks with the existing background vocal are discouraged.
- You do not need to provide a karaoke version of your song, however, it is highly encouraged that you do.
- If your song still has the original vocals on it, it will automatically be run through a vocal dampening system. For those who are not familiar with this, vocal dampening automatically removes or masks the original vocal track so that your singing can be heard. Vocal dampening has been known to have unexpected effects with some songs, so if you don’t have the karaoke version of a song, we strongly suggest that you test out the song first at home, or make your own vocal-removed version.
General Contest Format – How to Enter
Signup and Check-in
- Contestant limits. The number of acts is limited to 45 total entries to keep the length of the contest reasonable.
- 35 spots are reserved for online pre-con sign-ups when available;
- Remaining spots are reserved for at-con sign-ups. These are first come, first served.
- Once the 35 spots have been filled, online signups will close and you will need to sign up for one of the at-con spots.
- Once the sign-up cap has been reached, any additional at-con signups will be placed on a waiting list.
☆ To be guaranteed a spot in the contest, we highly recommend that you sign up online early in the sign-up period before the convention. However, please note that every year, there are numerous cancellations; even if you are on the waiting list, your chances of being in the contest are still very good.
- Sign-ups. In order to compete in the contest, you must sign up.
- Personal information. All information requested on the sign-up form must be completed and correct.
- Legal name required. You must use your real name on the sign-up sheet. A stage/fan name field is available should you wish to indicate what you would like us to call you on stage.
- Song selection. You must use different songs for each round. You may not sing the same song more than once in the contest.
- You must specify the songs you are going to sing when you sign up for the contest.
- Song changes. You may change your songs freely (and do not need to notify us) up until you check in for the contest.
- Once the contest check-in period has closed, you may no longer change your song selection.
- Check-in requirements. All pre-registered contestants are required to check in before the contest to confirm their appearance. The check-in period closes promptly at 30 minutes prior to the start of the contest.
- The check-in period will be posted in advance to the convention schedule.
- The check-in period closes One Hour prior to the start of the contest. The final contestant list, including wait list entries, will be processed and finalized at this time.
- Contestants who fail to check-in by the One Hour cutoff time will lose their spot in the contest and will not be called to compete.
- To check in, you must show your valid badge for the day(s) of the contest as well as any documentation required by the convention, confirm your information and stage name with Karaoke staff, and provide your music for the contest or choose a song from our database.
- Contest Order. Contest order is determined by Karaoke staff once the check-in period has closed.
- We make every attempt to facilitate and accommodate requests for contest order (e.g. as early as possible, as late as possible, etc.), but may not be able to accommodate all requests.
- Contest order may be altered based on song selection, logistics, or other pertinent operational concerns as deemed necessary by Karaoke staff.
- Contest Categories. There are two categories of competition: Individual and Group. Contestants may compete once in each category.
- Individual category. If you are competing in the Individual category, there can only be one person on stage during your performance.
- Group category. In the Group category competition, all members of the group must perform in all rounds to be eligible for a prize.
- The Morning Musume Rule. Once you have checked in, you may not switch group members. Adding, subtracting, or substituting group members in between rounds of the contest is prohibited.
- All members of the group must sing during all songs, either as lead or as backup.
- Contestants may compete in only one group.
- Song Length. Songs are limited to the following lengths:
- Preliminary (Qualifying) round:
- 1.5 minute OR verse/chorus (individual category)
- 2.5 minutes OR 2verse/chorus (group category)
- Semifinal round (individual only): 2.5 minutes OR 2 verse/chorus
- Final round: 5 minutes.
Songs longer than these limits will be faded out when the limit is reached. Contestants can also elect to fade out or end their song at any desired point within the time limit, without penalty.
- Criteria. Contestants will be judged in different areas relevant to their performance using a unique judging method developed by Karaoke staff.
- Overall judging criteria are as follows:
- Vocal/singing performance: Most heavily weighted. This includes, but is not limited to: pitch, rhythm, tone, overall vocal quality, and vocal support.
- Showmanship/presentation: Moderately weighted. This includes, but is not limited to: Song choice/difficulty, stage presence, general appeal, and overall emotiveness.
The scoring system and judging methods are designed to weigh vocal performance and consistency throughout the multiple rounds of the contest. Additional judging categories (i.e., “bonus points”) may be considered at the discretion of the Karaoke staff and judge panel.
- Individual category. The top twelve individuals from the Preliminary round advance to the semi-finals. The top five individuals from the semi-finals advance to the finals, from which the Individual winners are determined.
- Group category. The top five groups from the Preliminary round advance to the Finals, from which the Group winners are determined.
- Consistency guidelines. The overall contest winners are decided by a performance across all rounds.
- For the purposes of this section, a “tie” is defined as an equivalent whole number score total (e.g., 123.4 and 123.1) in all rounds excluding the final round, and an identical score match to a hundredth of a point (e.g., 123.45 and 123.45) in the final round.
- In non-final rounds, a tie may also be declared at the discretion of judges or Karaoke staff if the numeric scores of contestants at the cutoff are within a half decimal value (.5) of one another (e.g., 123.9 and 124.3)
- In the event of a tie in the preliminary rounds, the tied acts will all advance.
- In the event of a tie in the final round, the final round score will serve as the tiebreaker.
- If the final round scores are the same between the tied contestants, then a majority vote of the judges will determine final placement.
All decisions made by the judges are final.
All scores and judging data is kept confidential. Score sheets are not available to contestants upon request.
- A cappella Singing. Contestants may not sing “a cappella” style.
- Interaction with MC, showrunners, judges, and staff. No interaction with the MC or with Karaoke staff is permitted as part of your performance (i.e., once the music starts). Contestants may not touch or approach the judges’ table.
- Fade-out exception. You are permitted to interact with Karaoke Staff (including the MC) when you have finished your song and would like it faded out.
- Audience Participation. Contestants may not go into the audience, invite an audience member on stage, or use an audience member in their act. Actions that encourage general audience participation as a whole (such as asking the crowd to clap) are okay.
- The Moé Rule: A legion of prepared fans that rush to the front when you perform, dance along in the audience in a coordinated fashion, wave glowsticks, or otherwise make a scene constitute a breach of our audience participation policy.
- Performance area. The only persons allowed in the performing area are the MC, Karaoke staff and guests, judges, and contestants. Friends, relatives, fans, mascots, managers, agents, and any other persons or beings not actually performing in the contest are not allowed on stage or an area adjacent/in front.
- Props. Any props carried on stage must be relevant to your costume or outfit and not impact or disrupt your performance in any way. Props that alter the lighting or staging of your performance are not allowed. You must clear all prop usage with staff before your performance. Cosplay prop usage may be considered as a minimal factor in your overall stage presence/performance but will not impact your score.
- Permitted Example: A staff that matches your costume which you incorporate into a light dance routine.
- Disallowed Example: A prop that spews confetti on the stage and audience, or adds a laser light beam/fog machine effect.
- General code of conduct. As a convention for anime fans of all ages, we hold certain standards of behavior which all convention attendees should abide by at all times. For more information, please refer to the Code of Conduct.
- Abuse of equipment or facilities. You may not drop, tap, strike, blow on, spill liquid on, or otherwise damage or mistreat, through either ill intent or neglect, any equipment in the Karaoke room at any time.
- This includes but is not limited to: microphones, speakers, TV screens, stands, computers, chairs, tables, lighting, stage, or any other property not belonging to you.
- Guidelines. All aspects of the act, including, but not limited to: costume, conduct on stage, and song lyrics, are to abide by no worse than a PG-13 standard. If you’re in doubt as to whether something is suitable, just ask yourself, “Would you do this in front of your mother?” If you’re still in doubt, please email or post and tell us what you have in mind, and we’ll work something out.
- No guarantee to participation. If any violations of policy occur, Karaoke staff reserves the right to disqualify offenders from the contest or terminate the act in mid-song. In extreme cases, offenders may also be subject to convention penalties including loss of badge and removal from the convention.
- Have fun. While this rule is not strictly enforced, we encourage you to make the most of your time on our stage and in the Karaoke room. Our contest is an opportunity to share your love of music with your fellow fans, shine onstage, grow as a singer, and make new friends!
Good luck to all contestants and see you at the con!
ENTER THE KARAOKE CONTEST