The 20 Worst Karaoke Songs That Should Be Banned Forever

The karaoke bar is a treacherous place. As you flip through the massive songbook, you may think, “This is all in good fun. There are no wrong choices here.” But not so fast. There are plenty of wrong choices littering the pages like a minefield of potential embarrassment. Your horrible song decision and subsequent performance will live on in infamy among your friends (and probably on YouTube). Unless you are an actual, literal rockstar, avoid these 20 tragic karaoke songs at all costs.

It’s you; you’re the titular thorn of the beautiful rose that is karaoke if you choose this dirge of a rock ballad.

“It Wasn’t Me” — Shaggy and Rikrok

You might think you know the whole song, but really, you know exactly half of it. You could mumble your way through Shaggy’s verses and sheepishly recover on Rikrok’s. Or you could choose an intelligible song. Up to you.

What evil genie cursed the world with this song in the first place?

“Angel" — Sarah McLachlan

Do you want everyone to cry? Because you’re going to make everyone remember those ASPCA commercials and run home to their pets immediately if you sing this tearjerker.

“Tears in Heaven” — Eric Clapton

Unlike “Angel,” which beats you over the head with a mournful baseball bat, “Tears in Heaven” acts as a subtler depressive. Only when you learn of the ridiculously sad story behind the song do you realize precisely how devastatingly sad it is. Not exactly the party starter you’re looking for in a karaoke song.

whitneyhoustonVEVO / YouTube

"I Will Always Love You" — Whitney Houston

You don’t have the pipes for it (no matter what your mom told you when you were a kid singing along in the car). We’d love if you were the next Whitney Houston, but chances are, you’re not.

“My Way” — Frank Sinatra

It’s weird how your way is exactly the same as the last 12 people who sang this song tonight.

We saw Wayne’s World, too. Our favorite part is when the guitar store clerk yells at Mike Myers to stop playing Stairway before he even starts. That movie has a lot of good lessons.

The quartet of Boyz II Men are great backup in the bedroom, but leave the seduction behind closed doors. Best case scenario: You woo everyone in the room and a brawl breaks out over your affection. Worst case scenario: You end up more embarrassed than if someone pantsed you and everyone saw the silk boxer shorts you are definitely wearing.

“Never made it as a wise man.” Clearly. “Couldn't cut it as a poor man stealing.” Too true. And let’s just add in, “Can’t take a hint,” to the mix. If nothing else, you reminded your friends why they can’t take you places.

What if we agreed to never sing this one again? We’re pretty sure you’ll be judged at the pearly gates for subjecting karaoke bar goers to this monotonous, lyrical series of god awful questions.

“Baby Got Back” — Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sure, everyone gets a few sympathetic snickers during the spoken intro, but by the time the chorus hits, your audience may already be over this four-minute ode to butts.

Kent Russell / flickr

“Margaritaville” — Jimmy Buffett

If there are any Jimmy Buffett fans in the house, you should probably help them amble on down to a retirement community in Florida. Even the most ironic, twee-est rendition of this song still wastes away eardrums like a legion of Margaritaville brand blenders.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” — Bing Crosby and Doris Day

A lot has been said recently about retiring this song to the inappropriate annals of history, yet it remains a popular duet come wintertime. But this creepy, misogynistic classic should have been left behind many Christmases ago. No matter how cold it is outside, your duet partner (and the audience) will still want to flee.

“American Pie” — Don McLean

Everyone’s life is nine minutes shorter because you chose to sing this song. Even one of the kindest comedians in the world, Aziz Ansari, can’t humor you anymore.

Kurt Cobain is the savior of every unwitting, tonally challenged karaoke singer, but you can do better than Nirvana’s ubiquitous rebellious anthem. Try another of the band’s grungy hits like “Heart-Shaped Box” or “Come as You Are,” which are arguably better tunes, anyway.

KanyeWestVEVO / YouTube

“Niggas in Paris” — Jay-Z and Kanye West

You know exactly what we’re going to say here. The karaoke mic does not qualify you to say whatever you want.

“Jack, I’m flying!” No, you’re not. You’re crashing and burning. Every Titanic fanboy and girl wants to belt out Celine Dion’s dreamy theme, but this tune really should have gone down with the ship.

“Ice Ice Baby” — Vanilla Ice

Icy is an apt description of the reception you’ll receive when you bust out this classic wannabe tune. As soon as listeners realize the iconic bass intro will not lead them into “Under Pressure”—the light bopping hit by rock gods Freddie Mercury and David Bowie—the boos will start raining down like hail.

“Baby” — Justin Bieber

Since your audience is made up of full-grown, drinking adults and not gushy tweens, we beliebe you should get out of the karaoke bar before they take up arms in offense.