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'American Idol' Long Island auditions: Tips from show's producer

People wave to the bus as it circles

People wave to the bus as it circles for the film crew for the American Idol XIV auditions off Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on July 17, 2014. Credit: AP / Janet Blackmon Morgan

Planning to sing your heart out when "American Idol" comes to Long Island on Wednesday?

Senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn has some insider tips you should know first.

Lynn, who has been with the show since its debut in 2002, has seen a slew of stars pass through during the 13 seasons of "Idol," so he knows what it takes to make an impression. The two main things they're looking for? Personality and, of course, a show-stopping voice.

"We get the question all the time, 'What are you looking for?' and it's hard to put a finger on that," Lynn says. "Mainly, we say to ourselves, 'Do we want to see this person again?' "

In many ways, Wednesday's open audition at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale is the easiest round to get through, because the playing field is as level as it gets. Potential contestants will fill out release foms and get in line beginning at 6 a.m. to wait for their turn to sing in front of producers, who determine whether each person makes it to the "winners' circle" or goes home. Those in the winners' circle will then be informed when and where the next audition round is.

Here's what else "Idol" hopefuls should know before trying out:

- Shake those nerves: Lynn's best (and maybe, hardest to follow) advice is to be as relaxed as possible. "We want to make sure people stand out with their personality, not their nerves," he says.

- Be highly prepared: Which will help you feel calm. Lynn remembers Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert's very first audition because he was so "with it," and even helped other audtioners get their songs ready. "He knew what he'd sing and what he'd do," Lynn says. "It was so easy for him."

- Sing whatever you want to sing: Not something someone else convinced you to sing. "A lot of people show up and say, 'I'm singing this because my mom wanted me to sing it,'" Lynn says. "But pick the song you really want to sing. You'll feel it more."

- Try not to get intimidated by fellow auditioners: "You're going to listen to other people in line, but don't assume they're better than you. Everyone has the same shot at this point."

- Conserve your voice. Warm up, of course, and know your song well, but don't overkill, Lynn says. He saw it recently in New Orleans: A man singing for hours in line, holding everyone's attention, but by the time he got in front of producers, he had no voice left. On the other hand, season 11 winner Phillip Phillips kept to himself while waiting for his initial audition, and when it was his turn, "he was ready," Lynn remembers. "He brought it out at the moment when it really mattered." Having fun in line is all a part of the show, but just make sure not to overuse your voice.

- It pays to play talent scout: If you're not the next "American Idol," encourage a friend who might be. The competition's new "True Believer" intitiative has each contestant, early on, name one person who pushed them to audition for the show. The friend or family member whom the season winner named his or her "true believer" will win $50,000.

Are you auditioning for "American Idol" on LI? Share updates, photos and videos on social media using #AILI, and you could be featured on


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