Wanna become the next Carrie Underwood? The latest Kelly Clarkson?
The chance to do so begins this Monday, as auditions for American Idol Season Seven kick off in San Diego. Before the latest batch of hopeful give their pipes a run-through, USA Today asked seven of last year's finalists to offer a few tips...
Jordin Sparks: Know that they're watching to see if you'll crack under pressure. Sing something nobody else is doing, because by the 10th time they've heard it, they're going to cut you off early, and you need all the time they give you. Smile. Dress nice, but not so nice. Maybe smart casual.
Blake Lewis: People have to realize it's a show, and producers want what's best for television. You're trying to get a job. You've got to be yourself and be confident. I didn't view it as television, so it was easy. You're not even singing a whole song. Just be true to yourself. There will always be other auditions.
Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis and other American Idols have advice for newcomers.
Melinda Doolittle: One of my friends did the whole audition with her eyes closed. She can sing beautifully, but she didn't connect with the judges. Even if you're nervous, look them in the eye. Sing a song you believe in, one that you can really sell. Capture their attention. They're looking for more than singing.
Phil Stacey: You've got to be real. The truth is, I would have left a better impression if I had done the music I wanted to do from the start rather than wait until I was comfortable. Blake went a long way because he was crystal clear about who he is.
Gina Glocksen: Don't get overwhelmed. It's going to be a long day. Don't sing Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston or Etta James. Make yourself be noticed without overdoing it. I remember this girl at the L.A. auditions who looked as if she didn't have a care in the world. She made it through.
Chris Sligh: Be comfortable. Have fun with it, and show some personality. Maybe tell a joke. I mean, three jokes got me to the top 10. Be original, be funny.
Haley Scarnato: Stay true to who you are, which is hard to do when you're on a TV show. Focus on the song and get caught up in that moment so you won't let everything else overwhelm you.
What, nothing from Antonella Barba? She must be too busy planning a major photo shoot with Amy Polumbo or something.