Virtual 'American Idol' Auditions Makes Going to Hollywood More Accessible For Everyone

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, American Idol has opted to hold auditions for its fourth season with ABC online with Zoom, making it one of the most accessible years ever for auditioners.

American Idol producer Patrick Lynn said that even though the process was online, it's a close replica of what anyone going to an Idol audition might experience. In years past, "Idol Across America" travels to various states, hearing people sing their hearts out for a shot at being America's next idol, and the online format translates it for a virtual experience.

"So, we're making it as easy as showing up. You basically come into a big Zoom room. You'll see a bunch of other people, and then from there, you'll see a live producer. That's one of the things you can expect: you can expect to actually talk to somebody," Lynn told Newsweek. "I'll be there talking to people, keeping people interested, showing them clips from Idol and whatnot. And then, they get popped into an audition room, with an Idol producer, and then they do their thing. It literally is just like the road, except you can do it from your living room.

Moving the auditions online has made the audition process easier for people who may not have managed to come out in the past be it for work or travel reasons. "A lot of times, people-they don't have the wherewithal to travel. Say, if you're in a very rural area, you might not be able to travel 30, 40, 50 minutes away to go to an audition, or maybe you gotta work," Lynn said. "On these days, we're going to be coming to some of these states; we're gonna be open all day. There's plenty of dates to come by and try out with us. It literally could not be easier. It's just like you would do out on the road with us, except it's gonna be done live virtually on the internet, via Zoom."

For aspiring Idols that are planning on taking a shot at the big time, Lynn offered advice that's perfect whether auditioning on Zoom or in person. "Pick a good song. That is the number one thing. Pick a song that you know how to sing, and that you sing well. We're looking to hear a verse and a chorus. So, pick a good part of the song that really shows off your voice. Of course, look at your camera and perform it. Don't close your eyes and sing to the floor or anything like that. Nobody wants to see a bump on a log. It's important that the song choice and the performance is all kinda there," he said. He also explained that Idol producers will ask "Who are you? [and] What's your story? And stuff like that."

Lynn also had some good pointers for people to be as ready as possible on Zoom. "We want to be able to see you. So, get close enough to your camera so that we can see you, turn the lights on, have some light on your face," he said "Don't do it in a closet or anything or a darkened room, because it's very hard to see you.

Besides lighting, singing and looking in the right direction are important aspects to consider before entering your virtual audition. "Microphones on laptops and phones and tablets tend to be very directional. You need to be right in front of your laptop. You can be two or three feet away and still sound really good. So just be ready to do it, and by all means, look at your camera. If the Zoom picture is right under your camera, that's good, but remember: look at your camera, because that makes it look like you're looking directly at the producer," he said.

Lynn also explained that after signing up on the American Idol website, it's best to follow the show Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on the latest information.

While the auditions are going to be online, Lynn said that he's not sure what the process will be when people who move on get to perform for the celebrity judges, but the crew are "hoping and praying that we can all get together again and do this together." He also said that the Idol crew is missing out on the experience that the in-person auditions brought. "We all miss the bus," he said. "This is literally my favorite part of the entire season: going out on the road, going to these places that I might never go to for whatever reason. I love traveling the U.S. and seeing people come out and give it their best."

American idol
An illuminated American Idol sign is displayed during the American Idol Live! 2018 tour at the Orleans Arena on July 29, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 'Idol' will hold virtual auditions for its upcoming fourth season on ABC. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty