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How To Be Good At Karaoke

Culture
MTV Films/Zomba Films

Stay away from show tunes, maybe

There are two types of people in this world: those who get wildly excited when they hear the word "karaoke" (particularly when it's followed by a question mark) and those who... don't. I'm not sure it's fair to call karaoke the most divisive activity that average people have the opportunity to partake in (let's not forget Ultimate Frisbee, after all), but I'm not not going to say that either because for every rabid karaoke fan, there also exists a counterpart, a person who doesn't simply not care for karaoke, but who is actively afraid of it. 

And while I'd never say that such fear is completely unfounded (if you've ever been at a bar while someone is drunkenly sing-screaming "We Built This City," well then, you've known pure terror), I will say that it's totally possible for even the most anti-karaoke people, from the ones who are convinced that they can't sing a note to those who get viscerally embarrassed when they hear the opening notes of anything by Sondheim, to actually enjoy themselves if they wind up being invited to a karaoke birthday or are at a mandatory office karaoke event (what? these things happen). Here, then, are some ways to guarantee a good time at karaoke even if—maybe especially if—you had no musical theater experience in high school.

Remember, You Are Not Alone: Okay, admittedly, this might be what's freaking you out. After all, if you were alone, you'd be absolutely fearless when it came to belting out Lana Del Rey's "High by the Beach." But you're not alone. You're surrounded by other people, and thus you're terrified of hitting an off-note or getting pitchy or fucking up lyrics or being, like, boring. In fact, though, you should use the people around you, people who are presumably your friends, to make you feel better. They want you to succeed after all! Everyone just wants to have a good time. Feed off their positive energy. It helps. Editorial director of Book of the Month and karaoke-lover Maris Kreizman advises: 

Get help! If you're a total virgin, it's okay to make your first song a duet, or even a quartet. Just like anything else, the more you do it, the more confident you'll feel. Song tip: Madonna is amazing, but her range isn't the largest, so she's a great one to start with. I might even suggest you go with "Like a Virgin."

Yes! Sing Madonna! Or something similarly approachable, which brings us to our next point...

Pick a Song That's Easy to Sing If You Can't Really Sing: Theoretically, my favorite karaoke song is the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke." This is not practical though because a) it's rarely ever in karaoke songbooks and b) I cannot hit those high notes. So instead, I sing songs like Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" or Pulp's "Common People," because they are beloved and they are within my range. (Also, don't feel bad if you don't have a huge range; here's a perfect list of famous singers who, uh, don't have the range.) Beyond Madonna, here are some other easy enough songs that everyone will love to hear: "No Scrubs" by TLC, "I Love Rock 'n Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, "It's Gonna Be Me" by 'NSync, "Stay" by Lisa Loeb, and, if it's available, the theme song from The Fresh Prince. Word of caution, though, please don't attempt to rap if you don't know all the words already. This gets embarrassing for everyone.

Alternately, Pick a Song That's Ambitious If You Can Really Sing: Just because you're a karaoke novice, doesn't mean you don't have perfect pitch. And if you do? Play with that! Sing "I Started a Joke," or something equally awesome that will entertain and amaze your friends. Kreizman, who has an amazing voice, shared her favorite songs to sing, and it's a solid list from which to choose. She says: 

I run the gamut. I like "Sleazy" by Ke$ha, the Juice Newton version of "Angel of the Morning," "Hit 'Em Up Style" by Blu Cantrell. "Joey" by Concrete Blonde. Anything from Les Miz. But I also have a few favorites that are great for group singalongs: "End of the Road," "Disco 2000," "Sabotage," "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World.

Oh, and another word of caution: If you're going to go the musical theater route, steer clear of anything too showy or obvious or earnest. Kreizman says the most embarrassing karaoke moment has to be "when you're with the wrong group of people, and you do a show tune."

But if you do decide to venture that route, make your choice unexpected, perhaps with "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago. This is a good and fun song.

There's a Few Songs You Shouldn't Touch with a Ten-Foot Microphone: You should not ever, ever sing these songs at karaoke or probably anywhere else: "We Built This City" by Starship, "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, and that creepy Girl Scouts song, "Make New Friends," that Diane Keaton sang to Woody Allen at the Golden Globes that one time. All other songs are negotiable.

Allow Yourself to Get Emotional: It's okay to let your feelings take you away while you're singing or hearing other people sing. It's primal, basically, this instinct to be moved by what the human body is capable of, and, weirdly enough, karaoke is no exception to that. (Other strange but valid and normal times to cry include while participating in and/or watching a marathon or even just a parade. Biological impulses are fascinating, really.) Kreizman recounted some of the times when karaoke became an emotional experience for her:

I've had some really excellent experiences with themed karaoke. Like, right after Prince passed away, I did a karaoke night devoted to him and it was so cathartic. Also cathartic: doing sad song karaoke in a small room with just your closest friends and really letting loose. And also only for private rooms: musical theater karaoke. When you have the right group of enthusiastic people (or even just one other friend), doing a string of show tunes can be magic.

Most Importantly, Relax: As Kreizman says, "Don't take yourself too seriously. Just have fun. That's all anyone wants." This is true. If you are doing karaoke with people who want anything else, like to, I don't know, get randomly discovered while belting out Celine Dion in a dive bar in Chinatown, you're maybe with the wrong people. Get new friends, is all I'm saying. 

For the most part, though, you're out and having fun and maybe (probably) drinking, so just try and enjoy yourself. This might even mean that you don't sing at all. This is totally fine. Do not put pressure on yourself to sing, especially if it's your first time at karaoke. Maybe just be a spectator. Watching comes with its own pleasures, after all.

And beyond that, don't let anyone else put pressure on you to sing if you don't want to. Writer Molly McArdle says, "The worst thing about karaoke is when people who are really good at it say, 'You have to sing! What are you going to sing?!'" So this is a rule for all you karaoke aficionados out there: Chill out. Don't ruin it for the newbies. As with almost everything in life, it's always more fun if you just let people move at their own pace. Like, if you want to sing out, sing out. And if you want to chill out, chill out. Just whatever you do, don't sing Journey.

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD - Official Trailer (HD) www.youtube.com

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Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

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Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.


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Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.

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