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First Date Karaoke: 6 Duets You Can Safely Belt Out (Plus, 5 To Avoid At All Costs)

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So, you’ve proposed a karaoke date and found someone brave enough to go with you. Congratulations!

Careful, though. Choosing a “First Date Duet” is a very delicate matter. Here’s our guide to avoiding irreparable awkwardness and embarrassment.

“A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin

A HowAboutWe fave. And since this song is sung from the perspective of two people on an amazing first date adventure (“How about we… take a flying carpet ride over the rooftops of Agrabah?”) — go ahead and let yourself get swept up in the magic of new love’s discovery! Because really, when did you last let your heart decide?

Whatever, it’s an unabashed cheese-fest, but karaoke only works when it’s fun. (If you’ve ever seen some lady in a black velvet dress moaning her way through Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” then you know what we mean.)

VERDICT: Belt it out. (But make SURE it’s the Disney version. You might think you know the Peabo/Ronstadt version, but you don’t.)

“Secret Lovers,” Atlantic Starr


Great song, but it’s about cheating and could raise uncomfortable questions about your checkered past.
Skip it.

“Jackson,” Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash

“We got married in a fever/hotter than a pepper sprout.” Yeah, we know it’s a first date no-no to bring up the topic of marriage, but we think this classic is actually a safe bet. It’s cute, it’s cool, it’s easy to pull off and singing about how the “fire went out” when sparks are just starting to fly gets both of you thinking about your chemistry. Bonus points for nailing the June Carter growl (but trying and failing is incredibly endearing, too).
Belt it out.

“Leather and Lace,” Stevie Nicks and Don Henley

Careful — you might be getting in over your head. “You in the moonlight with your sleepy eyes” is way too intimate for a first date. Never mind, “lovers forever, face to face.” Don’t touch this one until you’ve got at least two years of couplehood under your belt.
Skip it.

“Islands in The Stream” Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

It’s romantic as hell and hard to screw up. Just don’t start singing “Ghetto Superstar” unless you’re charming (or drunk) enough to get away with it.
Belt it out.

“Summer Nights,” John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

This might be the perfect first date duet. Yeah, it’s done to death, but it’s done to death because it’s a Guaranteed Good Time. Get good and liquored up, remember to sing from your diaphragm, and you’ll be amazed to find yourself killing that falsetto “niiiiiii-hiiiiiiiiiiiiights!” at the end. Instant. Karaoke. Hero.
Belt it out.

“Under Pressure” David Bowie and Queen

Neither of you are Freddie Mercury.
Skip it.

“(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Don’t. Do. It. You’ll realize too late how excruciatingly long and boring this song is when it’s not the backdrop for a triumphant dance finale.
Skip it.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton

If you can resist the temptation to do your terrible Satchmo impression (you sound like Cookie Monster, dude), you could try it. Just don’t forget that this is a song about a desperate guy trying to trick a girl into sleeping with him by claiming that he’s not tough enough to walk home in the cold. Whining is never, ever sexy.
Use your judgement.

“Dancin’ in the Streets” David Bowie and Mick Jagger

Make sure you get the Bowie/Jagger version, then decide who gets to be who. This is going to tell you A LOT about your compatibility. Mick and Bowie were really phoning this one in, so there’s no embarrassing high notes to reach for (see “Under Pressure”). Just enjoy the ride all the way to famous “geographical breakdown” and have fun mimicking Bowie’s sultry goofball delivery of “and the streets of Brazil” and Jagger howling “back in the USSR!”
Belt it out.

“Don’t You Want Me Baby” Human League

YES. It’s a crowd-pleaser that calls for fake British accents and New Wave swagger. You might not hit all the notes, but if you really GO FOR IT, you will be forgiven.
Belt it out.

“Cruisin’” Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow made this one famous in the 2000 karaoke rom-com, Duets. It’s probably a lot more popular in the singing rooms than it should be as result. Listen, this is a great song, but YOU DON’T KNOW IT. You know the chorus, but the verses are COMPLICATED and you’re going to butcher it. Trust us on this one: “Cruisin’” is a bumpy ride.
Skip it.

Got any first date karaoke horror stories to share? What’s your old-stand-by duet? Post them here!