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Get the party started with our top-20 karaoke playlist

At some point, everyone — whether you’re a self-conscious shut in or an out and out go-getter — finds themselves on a stage with a cheap glass of ethanol, a microphone, and a screen filled with scrolling lyrics. But unless you’re a seasoned veteran of purposeful self-embarrassment, you might not know your way through the musical minefield that is a karaoke song list.

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That’s where we come in. We’ve scoured the web (and a few of our favorite Portland karaoke hotspots) for the best tunes, putting together a robust list of 20 songs that always make the crowd rock out, regardless of how on-key you are.

Be sure to check out all the DT Playlists on our official Digital Trends Spotify page.

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It by Will Smith, 1997

The creme de la creme of ’90s dance hits, this Will Smith single is guaranteed to hype up any audience, especially one that has had a few too many tequila shots.

Say My Name by Destiny’s Child, 1999

A sultry single, Say My Name is a rare choice that allows you to live your dream of pop stardom, shrieking out early Beyoncé runs in front of a live audience without any negative repercussions.

Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly, 2003

Sure, R. Kelly has done some pretty weird, messed up stuff over the past few decades, but all will be forgiven when the digitally-reproduced introduction to his best song ever comes on the speakers.

Man I Feel Like A Woman by Shania Twain, 1997

A sassy choice which finds itself oddly well-suited to fearless intoxicated men, this song comes off as tongue-in-cheek regardless of who’s on the mic — a classic single that many forget even exists.

The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy, 1976

Good karaoke choices are, by and large, all about the intro. You don’t want to sit up on that stage looking embarrassed while some middling pre-recorded keyboard bangs out a tune’s first 16 bars — and that’s where this cut comes in. Powerful stuff from beginning to end, this one’s the perfect jam to belt out to your questionably-sober audience.

Roses by OutKast, 2003

Roses is a tricky one — you have to be energetic and quick enough to hit all the verses, and confident enough to endure a questionably misogynistic outro ( you, know, the part where you have to say “crazy b****” dozens of times). That said, those who can pull it off will find a standing ovation, as this is one of the hottest hits on this list.

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, 1993

What pairs better than hilarious accents, a room full of strangers, and alcohol? Nothing, that’s what.

No Scrubs by TLC, 1999

A perennial hit among longtime R&B fans, this is perhaps most appropriately chosen when on a first date, or out singing with a wedding party.

She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy by Kenny Chesney, 1999

It may be a bit insensitive to more rural-dwelling folk, but there’s nothing quite like a mid-evening trip to a southern caricature and, of course, belting out the chorus to this little gem always works great with a cold one in hand.

Always On Time by Ja Rule (Feat. Ashanti), 2001

A closet classic which unites the crowd almost highhandedly due to the fact that they haven’t heard it in a decade, Always On Time is so groovy it riles up crowds, but not so intense that you’ll spill your drink.

Don’t Cha by The Pussycat Dolls (feat. Busta Rhymes), 2005

If you really want to see a spectacle, pick the most introverted member of your party, put their name next to this song, and watch the hilarity ensue. Otherwise, it’s just a very clutch choice for the outgoing among us.

Ride Wit Me by Nelly (feat St. Lunatics), 2000

The sounds of the mid-2000s make perfect Karaoke singles for a myriad of reasons, and the steady flowing beat that made Ride Wit Me iconic is also what will distract people from your out-of-tune vocals — we’re not pointing fingers.

Jenny From The Block by Jennifer Lopez, 2002

A throwback single which makes sure the audience knows just how real you are, Jenny From The Block is actually best sung by a man, for the sheer irony of it.

It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy, 2000

Break up with your significant other recently? This is the one for you.

One, Two Step by Ciara (feat. Missy Elliot), 2004

If you’ve got decent dance moves but are insecure about your voice, One, Two Step is just the middle ground you are looking for.

Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi, 1986

No karaoke playlist would be complete without this sultry Bon Jovi single — just make sure that dozens of others haven’t done a better version before you.

Smooth by Santana (feat. Rob Thomas), 1999

The single that relaunched Santana’s career in the early-2000s is also the same one that you should use to launch your karaoke career in the present day.

Who Let The Dogs Out by The Baha Men, 2000

Want to make everyone in the club mad? Always wanted to know what the heck these guys were saying in thick Jamaican accents? Press play.

Yeah by Usher (feat. Lil Jon, Ludacris), 2004

Because who doesn’t want to say “OK!!!!” like Lil Jon in front of a room full of strangers?

Tequila by The Champs, 1958

If you got dragged to the bar by several of your closest friends, and they demand that you sing, this is the jam for you. Why, you ask? Because you only need to say a single word.

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