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‘American Idol’ coming to Charleston on Saturday to audition new talent

September 13, 2018

"American Idol" is coming to Charleston on Saturday to audition talent for its upcoming 17th season. The auditions will take place at Haddad Riverfront Park.

If you’re hoping to make it on season 17 of “American Idol,” and you live in the Tri-State, your best chance to audition is coming at you live Saturday.

From 9 a.m. until about 5 p.m. (or until everyone is auditioned), the American Idol Bus Tour auditions will be taking place at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston.

The auditions are free and open to the public. All singers must be at least 15 years old to audition. Pre-registration is encouraged. To pre-register or for addition details, audition details, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, and terms and conditions, visit www.americanidol.com/auditions. Those auditioning can bring one guest to accompany them and the guest must be over 5 years old.

This is the second year for the American Idol Bus Tour auditions for the TV show that returns for its second season on ABC (2018-19) with all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Emmy-winning producer Ryan Seacrest will also return as host.

The American Idol Bus Tour kicked off on July 20 in New Orleans and the two Idol buses have been stopping in cities throughout the country including Miami, San Diego, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Philly, Houston, Plano and Austin in Texas, Shreveport, Little Rock and Denver, among others.

The Bus Tour closes out on Sept. 20 with a stop in Atlanta.

Speaking by phone from Columbus, Ohio, where the tour was stopped on Sept. 12 for auditions, senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn said “American Idol” is stoked to come into West Virginia for the first time to conduct auditions for the veteran and groundbreaking series that launched the careers of the likes of superstars Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee, Jordin Sparks, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry among many others.

“Idol” alumni are responsible for 13 Grammys, over 61 million album sales, 47 Platinum records, 95 Gold records, 444 Billboard No. 1 hits, 257 million digital downloads, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award. Now, the search is on for the next American Idol.

“We have never come into the state of West Virginia and that was one of the things we have been doing on this audition tour is going to places we have never been before,” said Lynn, who has been with the show for 16 years. “We’ve covered New York and L.A., and Nashville and now we’re in great cities like Buffalo, New York. We had a great turnout there and the attitude of the people is so good. We had never been to Chattanooga and it was the same a great turnout and we are expecting the same thing in Columbus and Charleston.

“We are the only TV show where we go into the smaller cities and towns and audition people. We have a West Coast and an East Coast bus to get to those places where people normally don’t get to go to the auditions. I really like going to the source. I have been doing this for 16 years and 17 seasons and this is my favorite part — coming out to these cities and seeing the energy. It is always great and the people are always super supportive that you have come to their town.”

Lynn said that everyone who comes to the auditions will get to audition as the Idol producers have it down to a fast-paced science.

“We can do a lot of people — like four people every four or five minutes,” Lynn said. “We can see a lot of people in a short amount of time. Typically we start auditioning at 9 a.m. and will be there until about 5 p.m. or until we see everybody.”

For those coming to audition, Lynn has some tips.

“First and foremost, pick a good song that is going to show off your voice,” Lynn said. “When you’re auditiontion, get right into the meating, and this goes for any audition, get right into the meat of the song, don’t meander too much. You always want to perform, too. This is an audition for a TV show so if you are going to stand there with your hands in your pockets and look at the floor, that is not something we want to see on TV. Put yourself out there. I told people all the time to engage the audience and draw them into you. Make them watch you.”

Speaking of watching things, one contestant that Lynn hopes does not make an appearance is Florence, the tropical storm remnants of the hurricane that is supposed to make landfall in the Carolinas on Friday.

“We are in Columbus right now and we are watching the hurricane very close, and one of the things that we want to stress is for everyone to check in with AmericanIdol.com just in case we have to switch places in Charleston,” Lynn said. “We are watching it and are super concerned. Charleston is pretty far on the outer edge but we are going to find out what this thing is by tomorrow.

“When Hurricane Katrina hit (New Orleans in August 2005) we had to end up relocating to Austin, Texas. So we have dealt with it before and we will deal with it again. We are hoping it becomes a tropical storm, but when it is all said and done at the end of the day we are just a TV show and realize there is a lot more to worry about.”

Visit www.americanidol.com/auditions for more details on specific audition locations, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, terms and conditions.

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