A typical dueling pianos show normally features two to four piano players. They can work in teams throughout the night, taking audience requested songs. Generally, tips are expected when a song request is made, and priority may be given to a song with a larger denomination bill. Upon a tip, the players will often play the fight song of whatever college is requested too, which often results in bidding wars between alumni and students of various universities in attendance. Patrons can also request that an audience member be brought on stage. Generally, this is to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette party, bachelor party, anniversary, or other occasion. The player then performs a “calldown” in which the participant (or participants) is embarrassed in a light-hearted fashion. Calldowns may be parodies of well known songs, or simply original material intended to generate a reaction from the audience.
“Bits” are comedic routines or audience participation, many woven in the songs themselves. A commonly used bit can be found in the song “Joy to the World”, by Three Dog Night, as one piano player will teach the crowd “sign language” that accompanies the song, then bringing up an audience member to demonstrate.