Film and TV

American Idol Makes A (Virtual) Pit Stop in Texas, Looking To Scout The Next Kelly Clarkson

Ryan, Katy, Luke and Lionel gear up for another season of sensational singing!
Ryan, Katy, Luke and Lionel gear up for another season of sensational singing! Photo by Gavin Bond/ABC

Texans are getting the chance to show off their pipes! Idol Across America, the virtual audition for the producers of ABC’s American Idol is setting aside five hours to hear the best the Lone Star State has to offer in one-on-one auditions happening Wednesday, August 9.

“We call it Idol Across America because we like to go by state and Texas is one of our best,” shares Patrick Lynn, Senior Supervising Producer for the long-running competition series. “We get a lot of great talent out of Texas. It obviously all started with Kelly Clarkson from Burleson.”

American Idol has been entertaining audience since 2002 when Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul became household names. Idol has launched enduring careers (alongside a few short-lived meme singers) and survived despite competitors in the arena of singing competitions.

Lynn reflects on the enduring popularity of the series, saying with a self-aware wit: “Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been on since the beginning of the show. While it has changed over the year on how we do certain things, it is still open to anyone and everyone within a certain age range, between the ages of 15 and 28. But anyone can try out! And you can also audition from where you are.”

Lynn, explains what Idol hopefuls can expect if they pop in via Zoom in the coming weeks. “You can sign up [online], you’ll select a state and a time. We’re open from like 12-5, but sometimes we go a little bit longer. You’ll get a link and you’ll show up on the day, and you’ll show up on the Zoom and you have to basically register for one to get the link. When you come in, you’ll be in the main room with me and I’ll explain how everything works. It’s sort of the virtual version of what we used to do back in the day. We’ve got a room full of people, and we break people up into individual break out rooms to producers from American Idol so people audition face-to-face with an actual producer from the show.”

If it sounds confusing, fear not – Lynn will be there on the day to explain and ensure every registered auditionee gets his or her time to shine. “Zoom is a bit of a different experience, so you want things to be happening and have some sort of master of ceremonies in the main room, as it were. You’ll sign up and get a link and I’ll explain how it works in the main room. The whole point of the Zoom is go face to face with a producer from the show. You’ll be in that [main] room, check to ensure you are registered and then we’ll send you into a [smaller] room with a producer who will already have a name, and you’ll sing for them”

Sadly, it sounds like Texas won’t be meeting Katy Perry in the initial try-outs. But for those looking to go the distance, the end goal is clear: impress your producer in the first round. With luck, you’ll advance to the next pre-televised session “to see our executive producer,” Lynn says.

Offering some practical advice on making the best impression, Lynn shares his insights from the past three years of holding auditions online. “The best set up is a obviously a desktop or a laptop, if can be on one of them which makes it very easy because it frees your hands up. But you can audition on a phone or a tablet if you want. A good internet connection is kinda key, as we all know. And picking a song that you like, that’s all part of it as well. Pick a song that you like, a song that you can sing well. And perform it! As I tell most people, don’t just be a bump on a log, go in there and perform and sing it.”

The whole point of opening up auditions virtually, it appears, was to widen the net of those the show could consider for its talent pool. “Noah Thompson,” Lynn cites, “who won last year – not this past one, but the year before. He lived in a little place in Tennessee and he did it on his work break. So you don’t really have to travel anywhere for the first audition.”

“We have seen people audition from everywhere. People are auditioning from home, from in their cars, at work on a break or wherever they can get an internet connection. I will couple that with: if you’re going to audition in a car, which, you know, the acoustics in a car are pretty good, but you can not be driving! I tell a lot of people, that kind of stuff might fly on TikTok, but we’ll ask you to pull over and stop your car so we can make sure you’re not driving.”

Those interested in auditioning from Texas can register for a slot during the session on Wednesday, August 9 by visiting

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Vic covers the comedy scene, in Houston and beyond. When not writing articles, he's working on his scripts, editing a podcast, doing some funny make-em-ups or preaching the good word of supporting education in the arts.
Contact: Vic Shuttee