American Idol reached out to me recently searching for talented performers to audition for their next American Idol Season 2018 with new host, Katy Perry. Hello! I put out the word right away to my vocal students and they submitted their videos to me to forward onto my AI producer contact. When I heard back from this producer that some of my performers were given priority auditions, and that all were encouraged to audition, I could not have been prouder! I wanted to give them and their parents the best coaching support I could, but it was a short notice audition and during our summer break. Since they each had to prepare three 90 second song performances and the audition was just a couple of weeks away, the pressure was on! Since I don’t hold drop-in sessions, I knew this high stake audition opportunity called for a creative coaching solution and Zoom webinar was the answer.


Our group webinar settled their nerves and helped them choose their best songs. I held a special American Idol Preparation Webinar and sent out an American Idol audition checklist PDF in advance since there was a very specific registration process. This worked well because we were able to go through the checklist together to make sure they had registered correctly, knew what to bring, loaded up their self-care audition day kit with water, healthy snacks, and their lucky charms, and planned out the audition logistics like parking and outfit choices.


Then we covered their song choices and song order to come up with the best audition strategy. Song choice was a difficult decision for some students, so I had them commit to three choices because when it comes to auditions, you want to be prepared when they ask you for more. Lead with your strongest piece, then follow with another strong piece that shows your dynamic range. Another performer could not decide on her first song choice, but she had a head cold so we chose the most comfortable range for her voice at that present moment. Choose your song for THIS audition day, not for your PERFECT audition day.


We also had time to practice Judge interview questions just in case the judges wanted to know a little bit about them. When I asked one singer a popular judge question, “What do you like about your school?” she needed a reminder to keep her answer simple and personal. Her first answer sounded like a brochure for the school, but what a judge really wants is a brochure for YOURSELF featuring short and sweet sound bites about your life experience. Another singer stumbled on his judge question, “Why did you choose this song?” and kept starting and stopping his answer. Remember that there is no perfect answer, just answer truthfully with the first thing you think of, it’s usually your best response.


Next we prepared their positive performance mindset. I shared a list of positive exercises to do for their audition like creating a positive mantra, breathing exercises to settle nerves, and a self-care timeline leading up to the Sunday audition so they were well rested. This part of my training is so important because it gives performers tools to take care of themselves in high pressure situations. It will only be them in that audition room, very likely being recorded, and we did not want them to wind up on the American Idol bloopers video reel. By each performer taking a moment to check in with their mental state, it gave them the awareness and resources to stay focused and calm.


After we wrapped up the webinar, I shared my guide book, “How to Succeed at Your Next Audition” with my performers AND their parents since I wrote a special parents chapter about how to support your performance child- and not go crazy when you are waiting in line with them at an audition! Minors under 18 were required to bring a chaperone so I knew that the parents would need support as well. One Mom told me that her daughter seemed happy and calm, and another said that her daughter was super excited to audition and surprisingly optimistic, just what we want to hear.


The audition was at Jack London Square in Oakland and it was quite the crowd from what my performers shared with me. The priority audition was quick and easy. They had a great experience overall and they got a great opportunity to audition like a pro. Each audition strengthens a performer, and there is nothing like a televised audition to really whip you in to shape.


So I say Bravo to my students who participated, you never know what will come from these auditions unless you try. Bravo to you supportive parents as well. What a fun, whirlwind experience. Each of you made me proud.


Coach Jessica