This summer I had the pleasure of judging the preliminary auditions for American Idol. What an experience that was!
As you can imagine, there is much to learn from watching thousands of auditions. Especially watching thousands of people make the same mistakes over and over again.
These mistakes are so avoidable!
For your reading pleasure, I have assembled a few Do’s & Don’ts for auditioning for A.I., and I would imagine, most open calls.
LOVE, DON’T LIKE, YOUR SONG
Your song choice is probably the most important choice you will make that day.
Your song should reflect who you are. You should LOVE it. Don’t settle for a “I guess I like this” song. There are millions of songs out there. It’s your JOB to find the ones that excite you.
Singing something you love is so crucial during an audition like this. It will be easier to forget that you’re standing in a football stadium competing for your one shot at everything you have always dreamed of.
You can just close your eyes, and sing.
And remember…it is just singing.
Another frequent mistake I saw over and over again was choosing the WRONG part of the song to sing.
Remember you only have about a minute to show us what you can do. Are you going to use 45 seconds to sing the verse and then be cut off before you even get to the chorus? Which is usually the best part?
Think about it.
DON’T ASK FOR FEEDBACK
A mass open call where thousands of people are waiting in line since 5am is NOT the opportunity to ask your audition panel for feedback.
If you don’t make it through, best to swallow your pride for the moment and trust that the panel knows what they are looking for. And for today, it ain’t you.
Evaluate how you did after the fact. But try not to beat yourself up. And give yourself mad kudos for getting up and doing it.
Trust me when I say that asking the panel directly for feedback will never satiate your thirst for WHY I DIDN’T GET THROUGH!
KNOW WHO YOU ARE
If you are a country singer, sing country. If you are a pop singer, sing pop. I auditioned many people who sang a very “meh” song, and when I asked them why they chose that song, they replied “Well, I thought you would want to hear this. But I really wanted to sing a Country song because I just love Country.”
If you are a country singer, why wouldn’t you sing country?
I’ll tell you why. Because you are trying to impress me. Which leads me to my next topic…
DON’T TRY TO IMPRESS ME
The need to please runs rampant in the artistic community, particularly when it comes to auditioning. Most singers ask themselves, “What do they want to hear? What do they want to see?”
This is a mistake.
And the question should be the other way around. “What do I want to sing? How will I feel my best?”
Now of course if an audition has very specific guidelines, usually best to follow those.
But I am talking about an open call here. Where the only guideline is to sing acapella.
From my experience on the road, the BIG songs from the likes of Mariah, Whitney, Celine, are sung over and over again. And not because the singers feel connected to the songs in any way. But because they think that’s what we want to hear. Crazy runs, modulations, belting, belting, BELTING!
If crazy power ballads are truly your thing, than you sing it girl. But if you just think that’s what we want to hear because it’s big and impressive, you are choosing the wrong song.
BE WHO YOU ARE
I know…duh. How can I be anyone but myself?
Well my friends, you would be surprised.
Remember that when you are auditioning, the panel is looking for that spark of who you are. Not only a great voice. We want to see your personality and get to know you.
If you are so crazy nervous that you can’t remember your own name, or just completely zoned out of the moment, you are missing the opportunity for us to see YOU.
Now this doesn’t mean that you put on a fake audition robot persona. Many times I felt like I was watching invasion of the body snatchers. Hellooooo….is there a human being home?
Please relax and treat the audition that some really cool thing you are doing right now, and then you are going to leave and do another cool thing. No pressure, no problem.
Listen…auditions suck. They are uncomfortable and you are tired and cranky and nervous and your mom just told you that you better get this because she’s never getting up this early again to drive you somewhere.
They’re a necessary evil. But it is YOUR JOB to keep doing them. To get out there and BE SEEN.
Or else you are just sitting at home watching yet another season of IDOL, thinking “I am so much better than him.”
If you are, get out there and do it.
And know that I am cheering you on the whole way.
Keep singing, Adriana