Alcohol makes people do dumb things, and that's part of the reason it goes so well with karaoke.
So if you think America's biggest karaoke competition - "American Idol" - has gotten a little too tired and predictable, recruit some friends, pick a designated driver and go make a fool of yourself at one of the dozens of area bars and restaurants that host weekly karaoke nights.
Here are four fun places to showcase your skills... or lack thereof.
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8500 Pineville-Matthews Road in Pineville. 704-541-0794; www.baileyspubandgrille.com.
Showtimes: 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sundays and Wednesdays.
The scene: It's a sports bar, part of the same chain as Fox & Hound. On a typical night, manager Sharon Cline says, "we have 50 to 75 people, with about 25 to 35 singing."
What you'll hear: "A mix of everything, from country to pop to rap," Cline says.
How competitive does it get here? Usually, it's all in good fun. But over the past six months, Bailey's has twice partnered with the Ballantyne Fox & Hound in hosting an "Idol"-esque competition with a $1,000 cash prize.
Warm-up drinks: On Wednesdays: $2.50 Miller Lite and Coors Light bottles. On Sundays: $5 Jager shots.
130 Matthews Station St. in Matthews. 704-849-2023; www.beantowntavern.com.
Show times: 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
The scene: "We have a very eclectic crowd, everything from kids in their early 20s to people in their 60s," says owner Donnie Gaskin.
Regular favorites: "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow; Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." "Mostly classic hits here," Gaskin says.
Memorable moment: Gaskin says Charlotte's Fantasia Barrino, a former "American Idol" champ, took a turn on the mic a little over a year ago. "She's been in quite a few times, but she's only gotten up to sing once."
Warm-up drinks: $1.75 Bud Lights. On Sundays and Tuesdays: $4 well vodka drinks. On Mondays: $3.50 rum drinks.
1411 S. Tryon St. in South End. 704-373-0782;
Showtime: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays.
The scene: "For the most part, it's your drinking crowd that's just trying to have a good time," says owner Chris Healy. "(The crowd is) usually 25 to 35, 25 to 40, more female than male.... We still get a media crowd on Wednesday nights, and it's fun seeing local TV personalities up there singing."
If you want to get the crowd going, sing: Something from the '80s. Any vintage Bon Jovi will do.
If you want to get the crowd laughing, do: A Denis Leary or Adam Sandler comedy song. Which ones? Actually, the titles "might be a little inappropriate to quote in the paper," Healy says.
Warm-up drinks: All draft beers are $2.50. Root Beer Floats (it's a shot) are $5.
Revolution Pizza and Ale House
3228 N. Davidson St. in NoDa. 704-333-4440;
Showtime: 9 p.m.-midnight Thursdays.
The scene: "It's pretty casual," says owner Aman Boyd. "I've heard of other places that get pretty competitive. (Here) it's pretty laid-back - just like NoDa. No one takes themselves too seriously. My employees get off and jump on and sing their songs."
If you want to get the crowd going, sing: "Sweet Caroline."
Memorable moment: "I embarrassed myself when I tried to get up and sing 'Killing Me Softly' by Lauryn Hill, which is about 10 octaves higher than my voice can handle," Boyd recalls, laughing.
Warm-up drinks: All draft beers are $3, and Revolution has 44 to choose from. High-gravity beers are $1 off. Well drinks are $3, too.