If you have ever watched the first episodes of a season you have no doubt sat around wondering exactly what someone was thinking when they picked out a song to sing. If you have ever found yourself in this position and you are considering auditioning for the show then this gives you a good indication of what you should not do when it comes to picking out the right song for your audition. While everyone is certainly free to select their own personal favorite song to audition with there are a few things that seem to apply pretty evenly all across the seasons when it comes to picking out the right song.
Your first cardinal sin is picking a song that is from someone considered a powerhouse. This would include but is certainly not limited to singers like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and even Celine Dion. If you hit the high notes and it does not sound perfect you will sound much more like a cat screaming. It is extremely important to avoid songs from these artists as well because in all truthfulness, most people heavily compare contestants to the original and it is extremely hard to inject your own personality into the song without hurting yourself. Each year there are dozens of contestants who pick songs from one of these artists and each year they are always sent home without going very far.
If you are gifted with incredible vocal range then be happy, but certainly do not take the initial audition as the perfect opportunity to show your range off. If you are having an off day for some reason, it can bring your American Idol experience to a screeching halt before it ever begins. If you are absolutely determined to sing a song from someone like Mariah, Whitney or Celine save it for Hollywood week when small mistakes will not cost you as greatly. This will still allow you to show off your vocal skills, while still staying with a much safer song choice when it matters the most.
Another artist to avoid is Janis Joplin. Regardless of what people think, she is not a singer that can be easily copied. Most contestants who attempt a Janis Joplin song try too hard to copy her exact style, and it often ends badly. If you are interested in showing off a song from someone like Janis Joplin, you need to work hard to turn it into something that sounds smooth and natural with your voice. If you are just trying to completely copy the entire flow of the song you will likely fail. Choose a different artist, or try to smooth out the song before you actually audition.
A final key piece of advice is always stick to selecting songs from an artist of the same gender. There is nothing that makes the judges laugh more than hearing someone that is a guy singing a Madonna song. However, the judges are not laughing in a positive way, they are much more likely to laugh over your singing attempt and consider you to be nothing more than a joke. The simple fact of the matter is the original song is still in the minds of the judges and if you differ too far, it can hurt your audition no matter how brilliantly you sing it. If you want to truly select a song from someone of a different gender make it your own and be certain that it is a unique version in order to have a good result from your audition.