How To Throw A Lip Sync Party

Lip Sync Fever 2016

The art of miming a vocal performance has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Milli Vanilli's lip-sync scandal to become a badge of honor for celebrities who win lip-sync competitions on Jimmy Fallon and Lip Sync Battle (and no, Channing Tatum is not going too far in this video).

You are invited to a winner-take-all lip sync battle party on Sat., Feb. 27. Doors open at 7. Performances start at 8.

So began the phenomenal invite from my husband that lured all of our friends to our house three weeks ago -- and saved me from having to write a blog intro.

There was a lot of work that went into making this party a success -- and every second was worth it! Here's a how-to list that I hope will make it a little easier for you to get your Milli Vanilli on. 

1. Get Inspired

Watch this:

2. Vet your friends

It's hard to "perform" in front of people. And I had no interest in throwing a party that none of our friends wanted to attend. So before we sent out the invites, we asked close friends if a lip sync party -- where every attendee had to perform -- was a party they were interested in. We were shocked that 95 percent of our friends said yes. 

3. Decide on "the rules"

The loosy-gooseyness of most parties doesn't work for a lip sync party. It's only fun if your guests are committed and engaged. So we made it mandatory that everyone:

  • Perform
  • Contribute $5 for a winner-take-all grand prize.
  • Show up in time for the first performance. 

We were very demanding. People loved it. Click below to get a handy-dandy copy of the rest of my husband's rules.

4. Send your invite with lots of lead time

Make sure to give your friends lots of time to choose a song and practice their routines. And keep your invite list relatively small. With about 35 guests and only 14 performances, it still took us three hours to get through all of them. 

5. Start practicing your routine

Expectations of the host's performance will be high. Start practicing early. Here's a snippet of mine. The song is "Velcro" by Clairity. And I post this with a trembling finger and nervous sweat. Be kind:

Some tips to make your routine a success:

  1. Know the words. People can tell when you don't.
  2. Dress up. Whether it's a costume or just an out-of-the-ordinary look for you, wearing something different makes it easier to play your goofy role.
  3. Bring a friend. It is MUCH easier to perform with a friend or friends acting as backup dancers, taking over some of the lyrics, or playing air guitar. My husband jumped on stage for the last chorus of my song and did my dance routine with me. I had so much respect for the people who went up there by themselves.
  4. Use props. Our entire backroom was filled with tubs of stuff people had brought to make their performances shine.
  5. Up the ante. Regardless whether you use costumes, props, or a surprise guest (Beyoncé!!), do something to up the ante as you perform the song. 

6. Decide on a stage. 

We rented a 8-by-12 foot stage from a local party store, who dropped off the stage the day of the party and picked it up on Monday. Those eights inches off the floor did make a difference -- it felt like a true performance. But there's no need to go quite so big. Just make sure to delineate a space large enough for groups to perform and performers to dance.

How To Throw A Lip Sync Party

7. Figure out the sound system.

It's ideal if people can send you their song ahead of time so you can just cue it up in Apple Music, Spotify, or a similar subscription music service. But some people will want to keep their songs close to the vest, so make sure to have a jack where people can plug in their phone or computer. Also make sure your speaker system is loud enough to be heard over the hooting, hollering, and the fact that some people confuse it with karaoke.

8. Buy the booze, beer, and food. Buy tequila.

Liquid courage is the name of the game, so buy alcohols -- like tequila -- that people can get down quickly. We bought six large bottles of wine, four red and two white, and no one touched them. Beer and booze. Food. Tequila. Don't forget the limes.

9. Gather money and performance times.

As guests arrive, gather their $5, ask when they'd like to perform and, if you don't already know, get their song. Some want to go first. Some want to close out the night. First come, first served in this scenario. Create a list of everyone's name and song, which will become the emcees cheat sheet for calling performers to the stage and the ballot at the end of the night. 

And then invite everyone to grab a drink, grab their courage, and get ready for some magic.

Like this: 

 Shakira "Hips Don't Lie"

Shakira "Hips Don't Lie"

 Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" as Bernie Sanders

Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" as Bernie Sanders

And this:

My favorite part of the night was when guests thanked me and my husband by sitting us in front of the stage and performing "We Are The World" to us.

What song are you going to lip sync at your next lip sync party?