I’m not a professional performer, but I participate in ego-shattering, local theatre productions. If critiques on the local level aren’t fun, it’s probably ten times less fun on the national level.
So, I talked to a former American Idol auditionee, Leandra Ramm, a professional performer, to get her take on the audition process as well as advice for American Idol and other vocal reality TV contestants.
Below find my suggestions and her thoughts on the second page.
Train Your Voice.
I noticed good singers going in and out of the competition. However, a lot didn’t have the vocal strength to last AI’s grueling months-long event. Think about professional musical theatre’s grueling schedule, American Idol is ten times that. Can you handle three weeks of that, let alone three months?
Don’t lose whatever makes your voice unique. But, if your voice can’t stand American Idol’s grueling vocal hoops (even before you make the top ten), then train up now.
One of the young women I met had auditioned multiple times. While she probably possessed an incredible voice, she looked incredibly uncomfortable and awkward.
Don’t be egotastic. You aren’t famous, yet. However, be confident in your capabilities and that you have something special to share with the audience.
Know your strengths and limitations. If your voice drops out mid-way through the audition, don’t blame the judges for not giving you a second chance.
If only your friends tell you you’re an awesome singer, don’t get mad if the judges tell you otherwise. While I respect acquaintances with better voices than mine, that doesn’t mean I’d pay money for their albums.
Have your own career.
Sing in your local church, try out for musical theatre, sing at the local bars/coffee shops, try background singing, sing at local competitions, or become a music major/music teacher. Look at the musical theatre audition boards. Some of the singers I met saw American Idol as a magical vehicle to lift them from anonymity and bestow them with the singing tools to succed. Sure, it does that, but, you also need those tools in advance.
If you don’t get called back, you’ll have something to fall back on and you won’t feel the sting as much. Maybe you won’t become 1980s Al B. Sure famous, but you’ll be financially stable and might become a local celebrity, with a regional audience that knows and respects you.
Don’t do it for fame.
Do it for the music. Fame isn’t everything. Think about the past American Idol contestants that succeeded like Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson. Did they look like the usual people who wanted to “make it big?”
If you’re an actor or a strong personality who wants to get noticed, AI/reality TV auditions will probably look nice on your resume. However, if you’re an actual singer who wants to go far, don’t view the audition as your end-all be-all. Use it as a musical critique instead.
Take the advice and keep moving.