Belt out 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.

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Contest Information


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 performance

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.

Locations & Hours

Karaoke events and open mic can be found in both the Los Angeles Convention Center and JW Marriott. For more information, please see the Hours & Maps page.

Karaoke Contest

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!

How Does the Karaoke Contest Work?

  • The Preliminary Round​ (“Prelims”)
    • Consists of up to 50 contestants.
    • All contestants ​must check-in​ at the Karaoke Room before the show to provide their personal info, plus at least the 1 song they will perform.
    • During their turn on-stage, Prelim contestants have approx. ​1 min, 30 secs​ (about the length of an anime opening) to perform until they are faded out.
    • Contestants are scored by a panel of judges (See rules for ​Judging)​. The 16 highest-scoring contestants advance to the Semi-Final Round, held the next day.
  • The Semi-Final Round
    •  Consists of the top 16, plus up to 8 invited contestants from other competitions.
    • All semi-finalists ​must check-in ​before the show to provide 2 songs: 1 to be performed during the Semi-Final Round and 1 during the Final Round.
    • At least 1 of these 2 songs ​must​ be an “Anime Song.” (See ​Song Eligibility​.)
    • During their turn on-stage, semi-finalists have approx. ​2 min, 30 secs​ (about the length of two verse/chorus sections) to perform until they are faded out.
    • Semi-finalists are scored by a panel of judges, which may consist of different judges. The 5
      highest-scoring contestants advance to the Final Round, held shortly afterwards.
  • The Final Round​
    • Consists of the top 5 contestants.
    • During their turn on-stage, finalists typically perform a song’s full length.
    • Finalists are judged on their performance across all rounds, which rewards consistency.
    • After final deliberations, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners are announced on-stage and prizes are awarded!​ The 1st Place winner may even sing one last song for the audience.

★ Karaoke staff is always available for further questions or clarification, in addition to further details written below.

Signups & Check-In


​In order to compete in the contest, you must sign up, either before the convention via the AX website (“online sign-ups”), or at the Karaoke Room during the contest check-in period (“at-con sign-ups”).

  • a.) Personal information.​ All info on the sign-up form must be completed and correct.
  • b.) Professional name. ​This is how we will refer to you throughout the contest. This can be a stage name or a name you use in a professional context.
  • c.) Full name.​ If different from your professional name, you must provide us with a full name.
  • d. Song selection.​ Contestants may not sing the same song (including remixes/variations of the same song) more than once in the contest. Contestants must specify their Prelim Round song during the check-in period for Prelims. Semi-finalists must specify their Semi-Final & Final Round songs during the check-in period for Semi-Finals.
    • i.) Song changes.​ Any changes to your song selection must be made during the check-in
      period. Song selection cannot be altered during the contest.
    • ii.) Song selection may not be changed between the Semi-Final and Final rounds.
    • iii.) If you’ve signed up online, please do ​not​ email Karaoke staff or other convention staff to request a song change prior to the contest check-in hours. Instead, make your changes when checking in.
  • e.) Contestant limits.​ The number of acts is limited to 50 total entries to keep the length of thecontest reasonable. Up to 35 spots are reserved for online sign-ups. All remaining spots are reserved for at-con sign-ups on a “first come, first served” basis.
  • f.) Waiting list. ​Once the contestant limit has been filled, additional at-con sign-ups will be placed on a waiting list. There is no guarantee that waiting list entries will compete.

Check-in Requirements

All pre-registered contestants are required to check in at the Karaoke Room, before the contest, to confirm their appearance. The check-in period closes 60 minutes before the start of the contest. Please refer to the convention guide for the location of the Karaoke Room.

  • a.) The start and end of the check-in period will be posted in advance on the convention schedule. Karaoke staff generally ​will not​ allow check-in after this period, as this will delay the contest.
  • b.) 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.
  • c.) To check in,​ you must speak to Karaoke staff at the Karaoke Room during designated check-in hours and do as requested, including confirming your stage name and providing your song(s) for the contest.
  • Contestant order.​ Contestant order is determined by Karaoke staff ​after​ the check-in period.
    • a. We make every attempt to facilitate and accommodate requests for contestant order (as early as possible, as late as possible, etc.), but may not be able to accommodate all requests.
    • b. Contestant order may be altered based on song selection, logistics, or other pertinent operational concerns as deemed necessary by Karaoke staff.
  • Contestant types. ​Contestants may compete as either an individual act or in a group, but not both.
    • a.) Individual act.​ Defined as a single person competing ​throughout​ the contest.
      • i. Only the individual who is competing is allowed on stage as part of their act.
    • b. Group act.​ Defined as two or more people competing ​throughout​ the contest.
      • i. The KKD48 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.
      • ii. Kara-Ohki rule.​ In the event that one or more of a group’s participants is unable to attend, a group (that has signed up in for the contest in advance) may either change group members or convert from a group act to individual act(s) without penalty. Such a change can only occur during the initial check-in period and is not permissible once the contest has started.
      • iii. All members of the group ​must​ sing during all songs, either as lead or as backup.
      • iv. Contestants may not compete under more than one group.
  • Song Length. ​Songs are limited to the following lengths:
    • a.) Preliminary Round:​ 1 minute, 30 seconds, OR verse/chorus (“TV Size”).
    • b.) Semi-Final Round:​ 2 minutes, 30 seconds, OR two verse/chorus sections.
    • c.) Final Round: ​5 minutes.
    • d.) Songs longer than these limits will be faded out when the limit is reached. Contestants can elect to fade out or end their song at any desired point, without penalty.
  • Song Acceptability.​ If a contestant’s song choice is called into question, the contestant may be disqualified. The contestant will still be permitted to complete the performance, and the song will be scored normally, but the final decision regarding disqualification is made and enforced ​after​ the round.
  1. The contest is open to all registered convention attendees. You must have a valid badge for the day(s) of the contest.
  2. There is no additional cost to register for the contest.
  3. SPJA Employees and Guests of Honor are not eligible for the contest.
  4. Any documentation required by the convention for participation, if applicable, must be completed by
    the time of check-in.
  5. Contestants may compete as either an Individual or in a Group, but not both.
  6. The previous year's 1st Place winner may not compete again in this year’s contest.
  7. Contestants may be invited directly into the Semi-Final Round based on previous performance in KKD Karaoke events.
  1. General eligibility.​ ​All songs​ must be from one of the following categories:
    • a.) Anime series, movie, or OVA​, as defined below.
    • b.) Video game. ​Vocal tracks used in any released video game from any region.
      • i.) “Doujin” and indie games are acceptable as long as they have been publicly released
        or exhibited in a generally-available format.
      • ii.) Fan-created lyrics to video game BGM is not acceptable unless the work has been
        given a significant treatment and released publicly. (“Air Man ga Taosenai” is acceptable; Ska singing “Adventures of Lolo” on YouTube is not.)
      • iii.) Touhou rule.​ Touhou is fine.
    • c.) Japanese popular music.​ J-pop, J-rock, J-electro, Enka, Kayokyoku, etc.
    • d.) Korean popular music.​ K-pop, K-rock, etc.
    • e.) Vocaloid.​ Popular, publicly-released songs featuring Vocaloid synthesizers.
    • f.) Japanese-language releases of Western Songs.​ Officially-released Japanese-language versions (including covers) of Western songs.
    • g.) Official​ ​Remixes.​ Remixes of any otherwise-eligible song that have appeared on an official release are also acceptable.
  2. Anime Song Requirement.​ Contestants who advance to the Semi-Finals must perform an anime song for either their Semi-Final or Final Round (or both).
    What qualifies as an “anime song”? ​For the purposes of this rule, we define “anime song” as:

    • a.) Anime.​ A song used in a commercially-produced animated production from Japan. (However,
      note the ​JoJo Rule​ below.)
    • b.) Image, character, & OST songs.​ Songs which aren't necessarily used in an anime, but are on
      the soundtrack or another official release.
    • c.) Live-action spinoff. ​Songs from live-action adaptations, including stage adaptations.
    • d.) Official Dubs.​ English or other non-Japanese songs from the commercially dubbed version of
      an anime or video game are acceptable. (For example, Ricardo Silva’s Spanish-language dub of
      “Cha-la, Head-cha-la,” or songs from ​Robotech​.)
  3. General exclusions.
    • a.) No fan dubs.​ Fan dubs and re-written versions of the original song’s lyrics are not acceptable.
      • i.) Unofficial translations of a song into a language for which no official translation exists are acceptable, ​with approval of the Karaoke staff.
    • b.) No Western animation.​ Songs from non-Japanese animation studios (Disney, Cartoon Network, etc.) are not acceptable for the contest.
      • i.) Notwithstanding the above requirements, songs from ​Rwby​ (Rooster Teeth Productions) are acceptable.
    • c.) JoJo Rule.​ English songs which were not originally created for an anime series or video game, or straight covers of such songs, or any other "popular" Western song used as an anime series theme song are not allowed. (For example, “Walk Like an Egyptian” from ​JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure​, “Fly Me to the Moon” from ​Evangelion​, or “Paranoid Android” from ​Ergo Proxy​.)
    • d.) Doujin/fan-made content and d erivative/transformative fan works.​ “Doujin,” or fan-created content from established anime-related internet communities (2ch, NicoNico Douga, etc.) is often 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.
      • i.) Acceptable​ doujin songs include: medleys, meme songs, and arrangements that add vocals to an existing instrumental piece.
      • ii.) Unacceptable​ doujin songs include: pitch-shifted or otherwise altered originals, pre-recorded vocals, covers that do not significantly adapt the original work, unreleased material, and material that is self-produced (by the contestant and/or contestant’s friends/band/etc.).

★ 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.

  1. Deliverables. Your song ​must​ be provided in one of the following deliverable formats.
    Playing from your cell phone during the contest is ​not​ an option!

    • a.) 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.
      • While we make every effort to provide accurate and useful lyrics, we do not guarantee
        the availability or accuracy of any song or lyrics listed in our database.
    • b.) USB or CD. ​You may provide a portable flash drive or audio CD.
      • i.) No phones, tablets, portable music devices, or cassettes are allowed in the contest.
      • ii.) 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.
      • iii.) A CD with standard CD-audio format (Red Book) is allowed if your tracks do not require additional vocal dampening.
      • iv.)  Please check your media before submitting it and make sure it works in a standard player.
    • c.) If submitting materials on a ​CD​:
      • i.) Please write your name on your CD.
      • ii.) Track 1, 2, and 3 should be your Prelim, Semi-Finals, and Finals song in that order.
      • iii.) 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.
      • d.) If submitting materials on a ​USB​ flash drive:
      • i. Include your Prelim, Semi-Final, and Final Round songs on the USB flash drive in a
        single folder. If possible, no other files should be contained on your drive.
      • ii. 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.
      • iii. We strongly advise including a text file on the USB drive containing your name, email address, and phone number to help us identify them both during and after contest.
  2. Lyrics. The lyrics you sing must be the original lyrics from an officially-released version of your song.
    • a.) Contestants should provide their own set of lyrics to their song, if needed. We do not
      guarantee the availability of song lyrics in our database.
  3. Audio alterations.​ Your audio file ​may​ be altered from the original source, with the following

    • a.) Vocal dampening. ​Fan-made “karaoke versions” that remove the vocals are allowed.
    • b.) Count-off and pitch-centering additions.​ You may add a metronomic cue or
      melodic/chordal “start tone” to center yourself vocally before the beginning of a song.
    • c.) Fade-outs and cropping. ​You may fade or crop your song to accommodate the time limit for
      a particular round, or at any point within that time limit (to create a “TV size” fade-out point, for example).
    • d.) Pitch-shifting. ​You may modify the pitch/key of your source audio to match your vocal range.
    • e.) 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.
    • f.) 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.
    • g.) 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 pre-recorded vocals, backup vocals,
      instrumentals, or other materials made by a contestant. This is a karaoke contest, not a music
      production contest.
  4. 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.
  1. Criteria. Contestants will be judged in different areas relevant to their performance using a unique judging method developed by Karaoke staff.
    • a.) 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.
    • b.) The scoring system and judging methods are designed to weigh vocal performance and consistency throughout the multiple rounds of the contest.
    • c.) Additional judging categories (i.e., “bonus points”) may be considered at the discretion of the Karaoke staff and judge panel.
    • d.) Lyrics.​ As this is a karaoke contest, contestants are allowed to read lyrics from any source during their performance without negatively impacting their score. (However, contestants are advised that memorization of lyrics generally results in a better overall performance.)
  2. Advancement. ​After Prelims, the top 16 contestants advance to Semi-Finals. Up to 8 invited
    contestants may be introduced, for up to 24 competing contestants in the Semi-Final Round. After
    Semi-Finals, the top 5 contestants advance to the Finals. After Finals, the top 3 are announced.
  3. Consistency guidelines.​ The overall contest winners are decided by their performance across the Semi-Final and Final Rounds.
  4. Ties. ​If multiple contestants have an equivalent score at the end of any round, this is considered a Tie.
    • a.) In the event of a tie in the Preliminary Round or Semi-Final Round, all tied acts will advance.
    • b.) In the event of a tie in the Final Round, the Final Round score will serve as the tiebreaker.
      • i. If the Final Round scores are the same between the tied contestants, then a majority vote of the judges will determine final ranking.
    • c.) 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 the Preliminary Round and Semi-Final Round, and an identical score match to a hundredth of a point (e.g., 123.45 and 123.45) in the Final Round.
      • i.) 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)

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.
    • No Fan Clubs.​ A legion of prepared fans that rush to the stage, dance along in the audience in
      a coordinated fashion, chant from the audience, perform ​wotage​/wave glow sticks, or
      otherwise make a scene, is not allowed during the contest.
  • 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. Contestants must remain on stage while performing.
  • 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.
  • Musical instruments & noisemakers. ​Musical instruments (including tambourines, castanets, whistles, etc.), noisemakers, or any prop that makes obvious noise or otherwise creates an additional vocal effect are not allowed in the contest. Clapping is not a prop and is allowed. (Note that musicians are instead encouraged to compete in the ​Acoustikaraoke! ​contest.)
  • Victory Lap. ​At the end of the contest, and if time permits, the 1st Place winner may choose to sing one more song of their choice, on-stage for the audience.
  • 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 whether something is suitable,​ it probably isn’t​. If you're still in doubt, please contact Karaoke staff before the contest, either by email or in-person.
  • 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. ​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!
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