The 10 Best Karaoke Duets of All Time
Karaoke is quietly one of the most underrated activities to take in with a group of friends on a Friday evening. There’s nothing like grabbing the microphone, getting up on stage, and belting out a tune like you’re music's next superstar. Stage presence is a must when performing, so playing the part is very crucial. Maybe just as important is making sure you have a partner in rhyme for the night.
Choosing the right song to perform as a duet at karaoke shouldn’t be overlooked. You have to have chemistry with your partner, and the song you choose likewise needs to provide a proper balance between both performers. Ballads are a great place to start, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with spicing up the mood by doing an upbeat tune. To help you in the selection process, we’ve put together a list of 10 contemporary pop songs that are perfect for a karaoke duet. A few records here can be performed as crowd pleasers, while others will test your showmanship skills, not to mention your vocals. However, If done right, your duet performance of one of these songs will be the night’s highlight.
Pink ft. Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me a Reason”
Heartbreak never sounded so good on Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” where the 34-year-old singer teams up with Nate Ruess of fun. The tone of the record is melancholy as the two sing about the opportunity to love again despite suffering through a relationship that has seen better days. The key here is emulating the deep emotion that both Pink and Ruess deliver, and shedding a fake tear or two on stage with your partner is a great way to drive that point here.
Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”
Music’s biggest power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z have worked together several times in the past, but nothing they’ve done up to this point can top the raw passion that’s found on their latest collaboration “Drunk in Love.” The playful demeanor of the record blends well with the seductive production here, and channeling Beyoncé’s sultry vocals on the hook will certainly win over the crowd. However, while Beyoncé’s part on the record is certainly the anchor, make sure either you or your partner has got Jay Z’s verse on lock, because it can make or break this performance. Check out how Jay and Bey perfected the act on GRAMMY.com.
Janelle Monáe ft. Miguel, “PrimeTime”
Janelle Monáe and Miguel capture the sweet and soulful vibe of their R&B predecessors on “PrimeTime.” A throwback to the ‘80s, this romantic neo soul record is meant for that special someone in your life, so focusing on that theme with your singing partner will take this performance to another level. Swaying in sync to the smooth production would be a nice addition to the overall ambience. And if they’re available, turn on some neon lights to enhance the mood.
Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko, “Stay”
Performing a ballad like Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s powerful “Stay” can be difficult because, let’s face it, you might not have the pipes to match their vocals. And with only a piano track underneath your voice, that’s pretty much all the audience will hear. Instead of attempting to match Rihanna and Mikky note for note, stay within your range and concentrate on evoking the emotion of the record. You want the crowd to connect with it as if they were going through a heartbreak of their own.
Keith Urban ft. Miranda Lambert, “We Were Us”
There’s nothing like a carefree country tune that reminisces on the good times of our younger years. Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert deliver this vibe on “We Were Us,” a record that’s as charming as it is catchy. The great thing about performing “We Were Us” at karaoke is that both you and your partner get to share an equal amount of the spotlight. There’s also a lot of back and forth singing on this record, so be mindful of when it’s your turn. If executed properly, the crowd will respond to your performance just like they do in the “We Were Us” music video.
John Mayer ft. Katy Perry, “Who You Love”
Over the years, John Mayer has made a name for himself by creating powerful love songs that many can relate to. His duet with Katy Perry, “Who You Love,” is no different, where the two play up the theme of fate when it comes to finding your soulmate. To show you and your singing partner understand the importance of “Who You Love,” lock eyes while you sing the chorus. It’s a fun, intimate moment that goes a long way.
Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes, “Almost Is Never Enough”
Ariana Grande’s debut album Yours Truly proved she was much more than a Nickelodeon star, which is where the 20-year-old artist initially earned her stripes in the entertainment industry. Of the several records on the album that displayed her amazing vocals, one in particular, “Almost Is Never Enough,” stood out among the rest. The song is a duet with The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes, and centers around a sweet companionship that feels ready for the next step, but unfortunately doesn’t work out. Ariana Grande is hitting some high notes in the whistle register here that would make Mariah Carey proud, which should be left untouched unless you want to damage your vocal chords. Instead, play up this puppy love ballad like you’re back in high school and holding out for that one call from your admirer, except the phone never rings. That should be your state of mind.
Coldplay ft. Rihanna, “Princess of China”
Considering Coldplay rarely collaborate with other artists on their albums, it was an unexpected surprise to hear the respected UK band work with Rihanna on “Princess of China” off their 2011 release Mylo Xyloto. The record walks a fine line between rock, R&B, and synthrock, with Rihanna and lead singer Chris Martin going back and forth about a royal relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Your performance here shouldn’t emphasize a gloomy state of mind, but rather a moment of reflection with your singing partner.
Pitbull ft. Ke$ha, “Timber”
Pitbull’s latest single “Timber” is an unabashed attempt at blending country music with today’s electronic music craze. And it works for the 33-year-old Miami rapper, thanks to his vibrant execution and Ke$ha’s wonderful appeal on the hook. The best way to approach this song at karaoke is by feeding off the energy of the track. Also, planning a few choreographed steps before hitting the stage can be a savvy way to display your showmanship. It will definitely get the crowd a buzzing.
Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
Belgian-Australian singer Goyte says that sometimes he feels like, "less of a musician, more of a tinkerer." Whatever tinkering he did with Kembra when they put together "Somebody That I Used To Know," worked. He racked up three wins at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including one for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Somebody That I Used to Know." The duo lays out the feelings you have towards a previous relationship when they transition out of your everyday life. To take on this song for your karaoke performance, belt out the lyrics with energy and a touch of playfulness.
April 17, 2014 via Pepsi