Wanna become the next Kelly Clarkson? The latest Carrie Underwood? Maybe even Clay Aiken?
The chance to do so begins this Monday, as auditions for American Idol Season Seven kick off in San Diego. Before the latest batch of hopeful give their pipes a run-through, USA Today asked seven of last yearâ€™s finalists to offer a few tipsâ€¦
Jordin Sparks: Know that theyâ€™re watching to see if youâ€™ll crack under pressure. Sing something nobody else is doing, because by the 10th time theyâ€™ve heard it, theyâ€™re going to cut you off early, and you need all the time they give you. Smile. Dress nice, but not so nice. Maybe smart casual.
Blake Lewis: People have to realize itâ€™s a show, and producers want whatâ€™s best for television. Youâ€™re trying to get a job. Youâ€™ve got to be yourself and be confident. I didnâ€™t view it as television, so it was easy. Youâ€™re not even singing a whole song. Just be true to yourself. There will always be other auditions.
Melinda Doolittle: One of my friends did the whole audition with her eyes closed. She can sing beautifully, but she didnâ€™t connect with the judges. Even if youâ€™re nervous, look them in the eye. Sing a song you believe in, one that you can really sell. Capture their attention. Theyâ€™re looking for more than singing.
Phil Stacey: Youâ€™ve got to be real. The truth is, I would have left a better impression if I had done the music I wanted to do from the start rather than wait until I was comfortable. Blake went a long way because he was crystal clear about who he is.
Gina Glocksen: Donâ€™t get overwhelmed. Itâ€™s going to be a long day. Donâ€™t sing Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston or Etta James. Make yourself be noticed without overdoing it. I remember this girl at the L.A. auditions who looked as if she didnâ€™t have a care in the world. She made it through.
Chris Sligh: Be comfortable. Have fun with it, and show some personality. Maybe tell a joke. I mean, three jokes got me to the top 10. Be original, be funny.
Haley Scarnato: Stay true to who you are, which is hard to do when youâ€™re on a TV show. Focus on the song and get caught up in that moment so you wonâ€™t let everything else overwhelm you.