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Q&A: Could You Give Me Some Audition Advice?
By Duman & Fiero - 04/09/2005 - 08:15 PM EDT

Dear Jon & Gian:

I came across your article entitled the "X Factor" and I wondered if you could help me!

I'm a female singer/songwriter from Gimsby in England and I have been trying for a long time to get recognized within the music industry. I am nearly 21 and I just feel like if I don't do something now I will regret it for the rest of my life!

I am going to audition this year for a television program in London that's similar to American idol called "The X Factor," Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne are two of the judges.

Could you give me some advice on how to stand out and make them remember me?

-Shannon Reilly

Dear Shannon:

Questions regarding age come up in many of the seminars and workshops that we conduct. Artists constantly ask the question, "Are my chances of succeeding limited by my age?" We can definitely confirm that age, as well as looks, are important factors in determining an aspiring musical artist’s prospects for success.

This is especially true in determining an aspiring musical artist’s prospects for success, depending on the genre (Pop, R&B, New Country, and Rap mainly where the age range is 13 to 24 for the novice artist). Research will indicate that age can also be a limiting factor, and in some cases (especially for women), an obstacle to getting into the business; that said, “nearly 21” isn’t even drinking age (at least not here in the states), let alone retirement age.

You still have a few years of viability left, even by “American Idol” or "The X Factor" standards.

Which brings us to the question of what should you do to stand out, and make the judges remember you? The immediate (and perhaps the most difficult) answer is to be really, really good. That will help you be competitive with the best contestants from a talent standpoint.

The additional edge you are seeking will come from two areas:

1.) Performance
2.) Appearance

With regard to performances, don't become preoccupied with what you think the judges’ expectations are. Your audience is your real judge.

Although it also helps to rehearse a lot and be prepared, the most important thing is to just perform your song with all of your heart and soul. Heartfelt, well-executed performances will resonate with both professionals and audiences in almost any situation, audition or otherwise.

With regard to appearance, we’ve already covered how important looks are in the entertainment industry (especially television!). The important thing is to look your absolute best, not just in terms of your physical appearance (health, body, teeth, etc.), but in terms of your overall style and image. You shouldn’t underestimate the effect of personality and demeanor. Specifically, poise, humor, directness, an upbeat attitude, and a sincere smile will all enhance your personal attractiveness and performance appeal.

Of course, there’s also that little thing called talent (which still matters a great deal, despite any indications to the contrary). Compare your talent level to the top talent in your area (or on the show). If you find that you can't at least compete, work on those areas which need improvement. No matter what your talent level is, you will become better, if you keep at it.

Good luck on your auditions!

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