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What ‘American Idol 2’ Hopefuls Need to Knowby David Bloomberg -- 10/18/2002
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Since auditions for American Idol 2 begin in just a few days (October 21 in Detroit, October 24 in New York, October 27 in Atlanta, October 30 in Nashville, November 2 in Miami, November 6 in Austin, and November 17 in L.A.), now is a good time for potential Idols to get themselves prepared for the big competition. But just as in Survivor you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) go in without understanding that the basic necessity is not so much learning how to make fire but learning how to make alliances, you need to know how to do more than just sing if you want to be the next Kelly Clarkson.
What’s that? You thought you could just go in, sing your heart out, and we would all call in millions of votes for you? Sorry, no such luck. Let’s see what you really need to do to win the hearts – and votes – of America.
1) Have Some Singing Talent
Yes, first thing’s first. I know, I just got done saying that being a good singer isn’t enough, and it’s still not. But it is still the most important factor. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t impress the judges with your singing in the first auditions, and impress the viewers after that. At the very least, you should not sing poorly, or else you’ll just end up as one of those embarrassing clips.
2) Song Choice, Song Choice, Song Choice
How many times did we hear it in the first season? Song choice is absolutely key. Several contestants picked songs that they simply could not handle and ended up looking much worse than they really were. You’ve got to find a song within your range and abilities. Not everybody can belt out a song like Kelly, so you have to work with what you’ve got. If you try to stretch beyond your limits and fail, you will look much worse than if you had stuck to something you could handle.
Another aspect of song choice is picking something the audience will enjoy. Have fun with it. Pick songs to get the audience on your side.
3) Be Different
There are going to be a ton of Kelly-wannabes. Don’t go in there trying to be the next Kelly. You have to be different. Remember the guy who took off his jacket and had pictures of Simon on his shirt? He made it to the next round. If he’d had more talent (see #1, above), he might have made it even farther – but the key to even getting a chance was being different. (Incidentally, I would not recommend decking yourself out in pictures of Simon this time, as the contestant contract specifically says you should not wear clothing with pictures of any celebrity, living or dead.) Nikki McKibbin was so different that she made it all the way to third place without the talent shown by many of those who fell before her. Several times over, the judges remarked upon her “unique” look (which was not really unique, but was different from the others on the show). From all accounts, Nikki didn’t have that “look” when she tried out for Popstars. She spent a few bucks on a tongue piercing and some hair dye and, voila! She now had a chance to stand out.
4) Be Memorable
This might seem to be similar to being unique, but it has a different reasoning behind it. You need to be memorable so you will be featured on the shows preceding the ones where viewers vote. Why? Because you want viewers to already know you. Those who had a back story on the first American Idol were much more likely to do better than those who we hadn’t seen. For example, everybody knew Jim Verraros’s story before there was ever a vote – and we know that had an effect on the outcome. Meanwhile, nobody even knew who Justinn Waddell was, because I don’t think he even made an appearance prior to his couple minutes of singing before the vote. Jim started out with an advantage, Justinn with a disadvantage. Who made it to the Top 10? You already know the answer to that.1 2 Next-->
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