Karaoke Battle USA

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Karaoke Battle USA TV Poster Image
So-so Idol wannabe has some merit for tweens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show celebrates the unifying nature of music with its diverse pool of participants. Competitors discuss how music played a role in how they overcame adversity to get where they are today.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants are good sports in defeat and applaud their competitors' efforts. Judges usually try to focus on the positive aspects of the performances while giving constructive criticism that will benefit the participants, although in some cases they do give negative comments to people whose performances were subpar.


Some mild innuendo, as when one judge comments, "I've never said this to another man, but that was epic," or another suggests a song reached a "climax." Some women wear tight, revealing clothing and play up their sex appeal onstage.


Occasional instances of "hell," "ass," "pissed," and "frickin'."


Many on-screen pop-ups invite viewers to visit the show's website or chat with the judges on Twitter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series offers families some positive messages about sportsmanship and the benefits of competition, as well as music's power to cross borders of ethnicity, gender, and age. Participants take pride in their accomplishments and are gracious in defeat, and the judges strive to offer them constructive feedback that will help them improve. That said, the show is best suited for tweens and teens, since it does spotlight some contestants' poor performances and others' personality oddities for entertainment, and there's some moderate language ("hell," "ass," and the like) and mild innuendo.

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What's the story?

In KARAOKE BATTLE USA, America's most talented karaoke artists sing their way to stardom, a recording contract, and the chance to represent their country in the world championship vocal competition. Hosted by Joey Fatone, the show plucks male and female winners from regional contests throughout the country and has them face off in a winners-take-all sing-off to determine America's karaoke king and queen. The panel of judges includes singer Carnie Wilson, karaoke legend Brian "The Cowboy" Scott, and journalist Joe Levy, who score each performance based on vocal quality, tempo, and stage presence.

Is it any good?

If you're looking for a show that's got originality, star appeal, and top-notch special effects, well, this isn't it. Karaoke Battle USA plays out like a low-budget American Idol, even though it's obviously striving to mimic the other show's style, right down to the emotional confessionals and the guy-girl-guy judging trio. Ultimately the whole package comes off as more than a little cheesy, but in a strange way, that mood works for a show that never tries to take itself too seriously. After all, this is karaoke we're talking about.


On the upside, families who tune in are treated to a diverse contestant pool that not only reflects America's make-up but also celebrates the unifying nature of music itself. True, some of the participants play up their personality quirks for entertainment value, but when all is said and done, the judges seem unfazed by the drama and weigh in on the contestants' talents alone. With a little help from parents, tweens who watch will find some positive life lessons in the show's presentation of competition and its contestants' determination to rise to a challenge and follow their dreams. That said, occasional language and some innuendo make this show a better choice for tweens than for younger kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about competition. How does competing benefit you? What can be learned from winning? From losing? In what areas (sports, academics, the arts) do you like to compete?

  • Tweens: How does a group's diversity strengthen it?

  • How "real" is reality TV? Are any of the reality series you've seen more believable than others? If so, why? Which ones are the most worthwhile? If you could create a reality show, what would it be about?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

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