‘American Idol’ Showrunner Reveals What the Show Is Looking for in Potential Idols

by Taylor Cunningham

If you want to be the next American Idol, we have a few tips for you that came straight from the lips of showrunner Megan Michaels Wolflick.

On the long-running competition show, hosts Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie travel across the entire country to find America’s top talent and pit them against each other each season.

In 2021, around 100,000 hopefuls auditioned for the show, with only the best of the best earning tickets to the famed cattle call process. And after Hollywood week, 24 remained for the true competition.

With all those people trying for a chance at history, it’s impossible to choose competitors based on talent alone. And that works out well because the show isn’t just seeking great singing chops. It’s also looking for a certain je ne se qua.

“I’m looking for interesting people who are a slice of Americana or a slice of life and someone that I’m excited to see again,” Wolflick shared with ET! “You just think like, ‘How will I feel when I hear this person singing again?’ And whenever I ask myself this, it’s always an easy answer.”

Obviously, the best way to understand that “slice” is by looking at past winners, with the most successful of them being Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Scotty McCreery. Each of them has a positive, upbeat air to them that has earned them fans by the millions.

“Tons of people have star potential,” she continued. “They may be the best in their schools. But there’s a special something that’s not tangible. You can’t put your finger on it, but there’s something special when you see someone and you think ‘Ooh. They have it.’ Whatever that it is.”

It’s Not too Late to Audition for ‘American Idol’ Season 21

The bad news is that either you have it or you don’t. After 18 years with the TV show, people can rarely fake their personalities and fool Wolflick. So she suggests that if you stand for auditions, just “be yourself.”

“Sometimes you can tell when someone’s worked with a vocal coach for like two months and they have everything down. Be spontaneous. Have fun,” she continued. “Because American Idol is a singing competition, but it’s also a television show where the viewers want to connect.”

Wolflick also assures everyone that Bryan, Perry, and Richie are not as intimidating as they may seem. And if you happen to get a chance to sing for them, you’ll be surprised by how “genuine” they truly are. While they may see tens of thousands of people each day, they’re ” literally rooting for the person that walks through the door,” and they want nothing more than to hand out a golden ticket.

American Idol now holds all its auditions over Zoom through Idol Across America, which starts tomorrow (Sept 7). But it’s not too late to sign up. For more information, click here.