If you've ever gotten up on the stage to sing karaoke, you know how hard it is those first few times. It's reminiscent of public speaking, or stagefright. Your heart pounds, you doubt your song choice, you stumble over the words a few times until you catch your rhythm, and then you're so focused on the performance that your stage presence may suffer. Karaoke, for first-timers, is not that easy.

It's nice, and not only for newcomers, to give singers a little encouragement. As karaoke singers, we rely on the audience to provide our performance with some external energy. Dancers and singers in the audience amp up the excitement of the performance, and that excitement is reflected in how well the performer does. If we want the newcomers to come back and be oldcomers, we need to give them some assurances that this is a supportive community, so, we clap for everyone.

Yes, this means you might have to clap for somebody who is completely tone-deaf. Yes, even if they forgot most of the words. Yes, it's hard to applaud someone for a song you don't really know, and when you cannot tell if they sang it right. But clap anyway.

It's hard to get up there.