What it takes to be an American Idol
May 22, 2012 • nicole syverson, bear facts entertainment writer
Filed under Entertainment
More than 100,000 people leave work or skip a day of school to get a chance to receive a golden ticket. No, not a golden ticket form Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but a ticket that would allow them a shot to win $650,000 and a recording contract.
Out of all the people who try out for American idol, only 25 make it to the semi-finals and a dozen proceed to the finals.
In two years, Paige Rohrback, freshman, is going to audition to be on the show.
“I want to audition because it can make [my] dreams come true. I wanted to do this my entire life, and this gives me a chance,” Rohrback said.
Rohrback plans on singing and playing guitar in front of the judges for her auditions. Two out of the three judges must vote her through to the next round, which is Hollywood week.
“If you try out, make sure you really know your song. Pick a song you can sing well, not just your favorite,” Kate Zwiefelhofer, voice teacher, said.
American Idol is filmed on and off stage, so viewers get to know the contestants for their voice and personality.
“I wish I could say American Idol was based purely on talent. But, it takes a certain kind of flare, personality, and appearances in order to win,” Zwiefelhofer said.
The contestants are filmed throughout the competition, so the audience sees every side of the contestants.
“I want to be bubbly so people will like my personality and respect my talent,” Rohrback said. “I would sing country and pop because it compliments my voice. Maybe as I progressed become more country.”
Appearances also play a role in votes. In the past four years of the show, all four of the winners were males between the ages of 18 and 26.
“I think it is important to be the best version of yourself, you want the audience to connect with you so that they vote for you,” Angela Ufheil, orchestra member, said.
During this season, some of the contestants who could hit the higher notes were voted off because of their poor stage presence.
“I love Jessica [Sanchez’s] voice, but she is boring to watch. She doesn’t have a lot of stage presence. Energy is important to show who you are, and it is necessary to have it so you can be the pop superstar they want you to be,” Zwiefelhofer said.
Picking the songs is also a major point in winning the completion. If a contestant picks the wrong song, they may be eliminated the following episode. The different styles of music, such as jazz, country, and pop, affect how popular the constants are among the voters.
“I like it when they explore different genres of music besides what they are used to. That’s what I love[d] about Colton [Dixon], he [was] always well prepared and he [did] all different styles,” Zwiefelhofer said.
Popular songs can give the contestants an advantage because the audience already knows and likes the songs. So if the contestant does the song justice, the audience can hear how they sound compared to the original song.
“I would probably start out with a well-known songs, then throughout the auditions start to sing my own songs,” Rohrback said. “I would probably audition with ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles. I think it’s really pretty and everyone knows it.”
Rohrback is nervous to sing in front of the judges, and is afraid of what they will think of her.
“I have pretty bad stage fright,” Rohrback said. “But I’ll force myself to get through it. I just don’t want to mess up and act like an idiot.”