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How to Get on American Idol

So you want to be on American Idol? Dreaming about it won't get you on the show, but taking these steps might.


  • Step 1: Be committed Be committed. The process you'll need to go through is not easy, and it certainly isn't for the squeamish.
  • Step 2: Go online Go to "": to find out about audition details, including the location and dates of the audition closest to you.
  • TIP: Auditions tend to take place in the summer, so keep checking the site as soon as spring arrives.
  • Step 3: Download the release Download the release form from the web site. You'll need to bring it with you to the registration. You'll also need two forms of ID, proving you're an American citizen between the age of 16 and 28, and a parent or guardian if you are under 18.
  • TIP: Know what you're getting into. In the release form, you'll agree that your portrayal on the show might be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose you to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation.
  • Step 4: Register A day or two before the audition, head to the audition site – usually the biggest sports arena in your town – and register. You'll get a wristband and seat number for the actual day of the audition.
  • Step 5: Prepare for the audition Prepare two songs to sing without accompaniment. You'll probably just get to sing a tiny bit of one song before you're cut off mercilessly, but, in case they really like you, be ready to sing both.
  • TIP: Be outrageous. If just getting on American Idol is more important than winning it, your best bet is to somehow shock the judges.
  • Step 6: Arrive early Arrive early on the day of the audition with your release form and two IDs. Having a wristband and a seat number doesn't guarantee you'll get to sing for the judges. Time may run out—so get there at least two hours before the audition begins.
  • Step 7: Wait You'll have to wait several hours before you're called on to do anything.
  • Step 8: Sing your song It's not yet time to sing in front of the actual judges, but here's your chance to impress an assistant with your performance. If you're good—or bad—enough, they'll give you a golden ticket to move on to sing in front of a producer. If not, they'll send you home.
  • TIP: Tell a sob story. Just make sure it's true.
  • Step 9: Sing again If you get to proceed, sing your song again – now in front of the show's producers. These are really the ones to impress, since they decide if you're "good television." Again, you'll need to either vocally wow them or convince them you're laughably untalented or crazy.
  • Step 10: Perhaps perform again At this point you may or may not perform for the show's judges – and in front of the cameras. Even if you don't make it this far, there's hope: Footage of you standing in line could make it on to the show.
  • FACT: Calling in to vote for American Idol is so popular that scam artists have bought toll-free numbers similar to American Idol's number in order to try to charge callers who misdial.

You Will Need

  • To be 16 to 28 years old
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Two forms of identification
  • A parent or guardian
  • if you are under 18
  • A gargantuan ego
  • A complete lack of shame
  • Talent (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)

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