Private party karaoke is different from working a regular night at a bar. For starters, people are often shy about singing in front of a group – it can be very intimidating for someone who doesn’t do it all the time. They might need a little encouragement or even some help – that’s the mark of a really good KJ.
Then, you have to remember (that) you are having a party… it’s not a situation where the goal is to get as many singers as possible. Just because there’s karaoke at your party doesn’t mean you can’t dance and have fun in other ways.
A good karaoke host promotes singing without pushing people into it. A great KJ uses the energy from someone doing a fun song, or singing really well… and parlays that into a moment where the party really takes off. Often times a long dance mix is the right thing to do, coming out of a moment like that… and you really had no idea it was even going to happen.
The best entertainers sing along with people, either helping them when they’re having a hard time or lending some harmony and backup vocals to make the song even better. They don’t do it to get praise or applause; they do it because it makes the party more fun.
It’s hard to make generalized statements about how a good karaoke host works a party because I’ve seen so many different styles of entertaining… but the constants are: they adapt to the circumstances of the party, they use whatever they have available towards having a great party, and they interact well with people both one-on-one and as a group. I have seen some tremendously effective KJs in my time (and I’ve seen a lot of hacks too) and I can honestly say there’s nothing like a truly great karaoke party for sheer fun.