With the world's largest entertainment talent show being simultaneously the single source of great victory, as well as, the epitome of embarrassment and defeat, each year thousands of people across the United States blatantly subject themselves and their talents to great worldwide critique. Even with the departure of relentless (albeit frank and honest) judge Simon Cowell, and great speculation regarding the show's future, so long as the show exists one can rest assured that it will be guaranteed to entertain the masses, while single handedly, both making and crushing dreams.

If your heart is truly serious about becoming the next American Idol, a streak of many seasons have produced case studies regarding what to do and what not to do when pursuing a dream that many talented people will also be pursuing. While gaining the noteriety and air time that a funky costume and an incoherent, untrained, vocal performance can obtain, this type of fame (outside of William Hung's sincere demeanor) is oftentimes fleeting and should be avoided at all costs. Of course, tryout week wouldn't be quite the same without those personalities, and, if your seriousness about truly becoming the next American Idol is in question, then read no further. This article isn't for you.

Things You Will Need

Step 1

Because of the tremendous amount of pressure that can accompany involvement in an American Idol production, it is important that you have the right support systems in place even before you consider trying out. In past seasons, the impact of a brutally honest judge critique has been enough to drive contestants to the point of tears, or, on the other end of the spectrum, complete unhindered lashing out. While these all-to-familiar displays of emotion may make for good TV, having a support system of family and friends will help to provide comfort regardless of how positive or negative the judges' critiques are.

Ideally, those who you trust and support you should accompany you to the audition. If you make it to the point of actually being critiqued by the judges, you should ensure that they are standing on the other side of the doors regardless of whether you walk through with a yellow ticket or not. Bear in mind, because of work schedules or the tendency of many people to simply brush off dreams, you may very well have to "go it alone". In this case, it is important to prepare yourself for the intense emotional highs and lows that you will experience, especially if you progress to later rounds.

Step 2

While family and friends can be a great source of feedback regarding your talent and potential, oftentimes their opinions may be skewed simply because of their close relationship with you. Remember, for as much as entertainment does play a role, American Idol is ultimately a singing competition. The end state of your experience, should you win, will be to gradually become a marketable presence that will be the driving force behind record sales. Before you even consider going to audition, be sure to seek feedback from people other than your family and friends. Don't just seek positive feedback, but, instead seek constructive criticism that you can build upon with hard work and dedication.

Unfortunately, some simply don't possess the talent or, as Simon Cowell would call it "the IT factor". Seeking feedback from those other than friends and family will help you to identify if you are really the type of contestant that would actually have a viable chance at winning. If your decision to audition is for sheer fun in order to experience the 'process', then go for it, however, be sure that you completely understand what you are getting yourself into.

Step 3

In previous seasons, rash and illogical decisions have been made with what appears to be little forethought in pursuit of a dream. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed until you actually win. With this in mind, you should really fight the urge to quit a job or sell your home before you go to audition. If you do find enough favor to be granted an audience in front of the judges, revealing these facts will only make for an awkward feeling situation where both the judges, and the audience at home, will question the soundness of your decision making. Simply put, you should not gamble everything in pursuit of a dream. Instead, make the necessary arrangement in order to cover yourself if you must drive hundreds of miles to the nearest auditioning spot.

Step 4

Really consider your 'story', how you can uniquely brand and market yourself, and how accepting a global audience will be of the image you portray. Whether you are a simple farm girl, a single mother, or have battled a serious condition like vocal paralysis, these are all elements of your overall image that will reveal your 'human' side and, in turn, make you more marketable as your target audience begins to relate and identify with you. Beware, however, because an signs of lying or faking will be seen through by your audience a mile away.

Step 5

With years of production under their belt, as well as hundreds of thousand American Idol hopefuls having auditioned, many case studies have been produced that you should pay attention to. Whether you watch auditions on YouTube, or purchase fully produced American Idol season videos and CDs, you should consider taking the time to study previous contestants. While the rules and progression of American Idol are simple, you should really take the time to learn everything from which audition songs contestants picked, to how they handled and approached the judges. Such witty one-liners, like when now-Christian contemporary artist, Chris Sligh, spoke of wanting to make David Hasselhoff cry (like he had done in the previous finale of American Idol) can really strike a positive chord with the judges, as well as, the audience at home.

Step 6

Even when a season isn't actually being broadcast on TV, auditions are typically happening. This means that, almost all year around, things on the American Idol front rarely tone down. With that in mind, the American Idol website does have an integrated forum where die-hard fans discuss everything from the performances of each contestant, to the selection of new judges. Prior to audition, be sure that you take some time to read what other people are saying. While everyone will have varying opinions, you can read what fans have to say, and consider if it is even possible to take your genuine underlying story and turn yourself into a real, viable, and marketable presence that people will grow to like and adore.

Step 7

While visiting the American Idol website forum, be sure to also read any information regarding where auditions will be held. Even though you may be lucky enough to have auditions held right down the road from where you live, because audition locations are so limited, you may actually find yourself have to drive hundreds of miles to arrive at an audition location. Be sure that your car is in the shape necessary in order to make a long drive. As with any car inspection done prior to departing, be sure to check everything from your car's fluids to its tire pressure. When driving into unfamiliar territory, a GPS may also be an item of consideration in order to get you to where you need to go.

Step 8

As you review how previous American Idol season contests have performed, be sure to take note of the songs that are sung. With a pen and paper close by, begin to list not just the songs that you like, but also the songs that will accent and highlight the strengths in your voice presentation. While some will tell you to avoid singing a song that will immediately place you subject to comparison and critique against singing legends like Michael Jackson or Mariah Carey, you should ultimately sing the song that can best highlight your vocals. Even though the judges may hold you to those standards, even if you fall short of their years of greatness and experience, you still may even be able to impress them, especially if you are good. Be prepared to take calculated risks if you would like to truly become the next American Idol.
Tens of thousands of people, throughout the United States, have auditioned for American Idol in its many years of production. While only one person will ultimately be the winner each season, sensations like Chris Daughtry and Clay Aiken are living proof that tremendous success can definitely be realized even if you don't become the American Idol. Even though you should never set yourself or your goals low, do realize that you can really be a winner even if you don't necessarily win.

Tips & Warnings

During many seasons, contestants can be driven to the point of utter devastation when they are subjected to the bitter reality of the judges' criticisms. As you seek feedback regarding your singing capabilities, be sure to seek out those who will be brutally honest in their critiques as well. All to often, sub-par singers grace the stage of American Idol during auditions. If you aren't very good at singing, your talent may very well lie elsewhere. Even if your dream is to become an American Idol, your life may be best used in some other industry or endeavor beyond entertainment.