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How Do I Try Out for American Idol™?

The first audition is done in groups of four participants.
Aspiring singers can't show their tattoos when trying out for American Idol.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
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American Idol™ is a popular television program featuring talented singers from all over the United States. Once a year, the show holds auditions to find contestants for the next season. These auditions are held in several major US cities, to give the maximum number of people a chance to try out. Thousands of hopeful contestants drive or fly in from all over the country for their chance at fame, but only a handful of contestants from each city will actually make it onto American Idol™.

The first step to auditioning for American Idol™ is to find the nearest audition site near you. Audition sites and times are usually posted several months before the auditions begin. Begin preparations as soon as you learn where you will be auditioning. Make hotel reservations, and save up money for the trip. Take voice lessons, and choose a song to sing. Check the American Idol ™ website to learn about the qualifications for trying out. Contestants must be US citizens, between the ages of 16 and 29. Anyone under 18 must bring a parent or legal guardian with them.

Arrive early to the audition site. The first two days are for registration. Anyone who wants to audition will need to show two forms of identification and fill out some paperwork before the camera even starts rolling. Once you have registered, you will get a paper band put around your wrist to show that you have been cleared for the audition.

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The earliest that contestants are allowed to line up on the day of auditions is 6:00 am. The sooner you get there, the better. Come dressed to impress; you want to look like someone who would be good on television. While you don’t want to go over the top, you do want to look nice. American Idol™ has restrictions on some clothing, though. You cannot have any visible tattoos or wear clothing with a logo on it or with the likeness of any one famous, either living or dead.

The very first audition is done in groups of four, in front of one of 12 groups of two judges. These judges are part of the show's production crew. Each singer will get 15 seconds to sing a song of their choice. Try to sing something that is a slightly unique, but still a good match for your voice. Judges might hear the same song thousands of times, and you want to be able to stand out from the crowd.

After this initial audition, only about 100 to 200 contestants will be passed onto the second round. The second round will be in a different location at a different time, and the performers will be auditioning in front of the American Idol™ producers. After this audition, participants will be performing in front of the official American Idol™ judges. Anyone who passes that round will be sent to Hollywood to be in the top group of performers for the television show.

Out of the thousands of American Idol ™ auditions every year, only a handful of singers get a chance to really perform as a participant on the television show. Judges are looking for contestants with a lot of talent, who sparkle, and who have a story to tell. American Idol™ is not a talent contest, it is a reality TV show, and it takes more than an amazing voice to get through the auditions. It takes a lot of confidence, personality, and determination.

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Discuss this Article

anon944509
Post 6

I have seen some of the better singers sent home.

anon314036
Post 5

So why, when they show auditions on TV, are there also really bad singers who go in front of the judges' panel, if only the best make it through all the other auction stages?

anon290691
Post 4

If Nigel tells you no and the senior producer and an executive prouder say yes, will you go the the celeb round?

anon189981
Post 3

What a process! The people who make it through are really lucky!

cupcake15
Post 2

@Oasis11 -I love the show and would love to go to an American Idols concert. I’ll wait until the season is over and see when the next American Idols will go on tour in my city. I think that my kids would enjoy it too and would want me to get the American Idol tickets. I can't wait!

oasis11
Post 1

I just wanted to say that there is a major theme park in Orlando Florida that has an attraction relating to the American Idol show. It actually allows regular park goers a chance to audition at the park and be considered for an audition on the American Idol show.

The way it works is that three contestants that are selected are introduced to the audience and sing the song of their choice. The American Idol vote follows by the members of the audience and the winner goes to another show in the evening.

The winner of that show gets a ticket that allows them to go to the front of the line in any American Idol audition at the city of their choice. It does not guarantee that they will get on the show, but they have noted that there have been previous runners up that came from this very process and almost became American Idol winners.

It is really a lot of fun. My kids love the voting process and you actually get a sense of what it is like to be a part of the studio audience.

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