What NOT to Sing at a Reality Singing Show Audition

The entire reality singing show audition
process can be overwhelming, however;
if you know who you are as an artist,
you will be fine.
(Photo by Sarah Afshar)
When it comes to auditioning for any type of singing reality show or contest, there is a lot to contemplate. Going into the entire audition process, you have not only be extremely strong and secure, but confident too. You also need to know who you are, as an artist and what makes you stand out more than the average singer. There are a lot of great singers, but what makes a singer possess that certain quality that is outstanding or amazing is originality.

The ultimate way to project your originality onto any judge is being able to sing almost every song, but singing the particular song you choose, differently. When I refer to "differently" I do not mean changing the arrangement entirely, but simply doing something a little different with the song, making it original, as a result. Which leads me to song choice. How important is song choice? Very important. You hear so many great singers, but a vast majority of them sing songs that have already been done. For instance, you may hear a good female singer who may possess a serious, outstanding vocal, however; if she sings a Whitney Houston or Celine Dion song, she will end up being compared to the original artist. Although being compared to one of the "divas" of the popular music persuasion, can be a good thing, there is a 90% chance that it is more bad than good.

No one can sit here and tell you what to sing at your reality singing audition, as you are free to choose what you wish. However; when I tried out for X Factor in Dallas of 2011, I made it through to several rounds and it was because I chose songs that you would not expect me to choose. I was original and as an observer, I noticed that the vast majority of singers who did, in fact, make it through on the show did the same thing that I did. So the question remains, what should you sing at a reality singing show audition? Only you can decide, however; I am going to tell you what NOT to sing at a reality singing show audition.

If you are female, you DO NOT want to sing a song by any popular "diva" who has established herself in the music industry. You will be compared to the original. When auditioning for X Factor, I heard a lot of serious female singers get turned away because of this. A woman had an outstanding voice and she attempted to sing Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" and although she sang the song, in my opinion, as good, if not better than Celine herself, they passed on her simply because it was a popular song, covered a million times.

Whether you are female or male, you DO NOT want to sing a song that has been covered numerous times. If you are a man and you are looking to sing a song that has been sung so many times, you have lost count, more than likely, you will not go through to the next round. For instance "Unchained Melody" by "The Righteous Brothers" is a beautiful, timeless classic, however; the song has been covered so many times. Even if you risk doing something original with the tune or even singing the song remotely more exciting than the original artist, more than likely, the judges will pass on you. Ann Wilson of Heart is probably the only artist I have discovered that can sing this so good, but she's one of the few exceptions to the rule.

If you are male, you DO NOT want to sing a song sung by a male artist and try to imitate the artists voice. Although this applies to women, I have noticed that more men tend to do this. They have okay vocals, but in theory their voices sound like terrible impersonations. If your voice sounds like Steven Tyler, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, or Bob Seger and you sing a song by either one, you will be compared and not in a good way. The judges will definitely say "it's a no" to you.

Whether you are female or male, please DO NOT sing an original song. Wait until you have established yourself in the music industry before sharing an original song, as I have witnessed some of the most talented people get rejected because they sung songs that no one knew. You want to sing a song that is well known enough, but unknown. This is almost as bad, if not as bad as singing a song everyone covers. 

Whether you are female or male, you DO NOT want to sing a song that stays in one vocal register through the entire song. I do not necessarily mean singing in head voice, however; they want to hear what your vocal potential is. You do not have to show off, so this does not necessarily mean over singing or singing extremely loud, but give your vocals some color and let them know what you are capable of.

Whether you are female or male, you DO NOT want to sing songs that you do not connect with. There are many good voices, however; they look for people who are exceptional. To deliver a song appropriately is to project the emotion the song brings to you. You want to tell a story, not sing because you think you sound good singing a song. 

Life is all about being spontaneous and taking risks. It is not hard to do. Just follow these basic rules of what NOT to sing at a reality singing show audition and you will be fine.

X Factor! Are you ready?
(Photo by Sarah Afshar)


Anonymous said…
You have an incredible voice and you are gorgeous so I can see why you made it through on X Factor. When does it start?
Lynn Dudley said…
Great article Sarah! You are one of the most talented people I know. Is there anything you can't do?
Anonymous said…
Amazing! When does xfactor start???
Anonymous said…
My husband made it on the show. He and I actually heard you singing outside of the third auditions and thought you had a phenomenal voice.
Ward said…
You remind me of a female Adam Lambert. I love your voice!!!!
Anonymous said…
I heard you on youtube. Love your voice!
Tired Of Posers said…
I cannot stand when people sing and try to imitate the artist. I also cannot stand people who think they can sing and sound so unoriginal. That's why I love your voice. You stand out and do stuff that other women cannot do. You also sound like yourself.
Anonymous said…
Yes there should realize the reader to RSS my feed to RSS commentary, quite simply
Anonymous said…
I wanna audition for a musical show but am still confused on wat to sing,i actually wanted to go with a song from lion king 'we are one' but i don't know if dat will gonna be ok...