As season 14 approaches, the talent search for the next American Idol is more intense than it’s ever been.
The show’s bus tour kicked off Wednesday with crews positioned at each coast -- in Portland, Ore. and Portland, Maine.
If you’re somewhere in between, the producers are out to find you -- and that could happen right here in Ohio.
The American Idol Bus Tour stops in Columbus today and Fox 8 News will be there to cover it!
We also talked to an insider to learn how to make the most of your audition and how someone will win $50,000 this season, even if they don’t have an ounce of musical talent.
To have a shot at becoming a contestant, it goes without saying you’ll need to be in the right location at the right time, with the right identification and paperwork. You can learn all of that here.
Keep reading to learn the biggest mistake to avoid and what the experience is really like.
What the auditions are really like
Ever been to an outdoor concert? Or a fair? It's kind of like that.
So says Robert Mcleod, a supervising producer with American Idol.
"You’re going to be outside, you’re going to be waiting in a line, but a lot of people are excited," said Mcleod. "We’re all kind of part of this American Idol family, and experience this event. Everybody’s pumped up, everybody's singing, dancing."
Mcleod said to look for the big, blue American Idol bus.
At Saturday's auditions, it will be at Capital University in Columbus, at the fountain on the corner of Mound Avenue and Pleasant Ridge Avenue.
Don't be afraid of the judges
"The people behind the desk, the producers, the judges, we’re nice people, we’re friendly and we want you to do well. That’s what people need to know. We want you to do well. If you do well, we do well and we have a great show," said Mcleod.
The judges really want to hear the best of what you have, so give it to them first.
They don't have a lot of time to listen to an entire song, so try to make your mark right away.
"Give us an intro and get to the meatiest part that you want to get to so we don’t miss it," recommended Mcleod.
Don't forget the audition starts as soon as the judges see you. They'll be able to pick up on your personality before you even start to sing.
Be sure to avoid this big mistake
Whatever you do, don't hold back! Mcleod said the biggest mistake people make is to not take the audition seriously.
"Sometimes people will come and be like, 'eh I’m just going to do it, I’m not that good,' and they’re really good!" he told Fox 8 News. "Don’t hold back, let go of the nerves, have fun. You really have nothing to lose. "
Think about your true believer
This year, each American Idol contestant will have someone they name their "true believer."
That person could be a music teacher, a parent, a co-worker ... someone who backed them and encouraged them to pursue their dream.
At the end of the competition, the winner's true believer will be awarded a $50,000 cash prize.
Because of Ohio's rock and roll ties, Mcleod expects to find some rockers at the Columbus auditions, but American Idol isn't looking for one sound in particular.
"I love Ohio," he said. "Been there quite a few times and I know there’s a lot of talent there. I know there’s some good country there as well.”
The show always wants a variety of music, so pick the style that's best for you.
“Come down," Mcleod invited. "If you think you got a shot, go for it, you’ve got nothing at all to lose. So don’t hold back, shake off those nerves and go for it.”
If you can't make it, there are other ways to audition, and be sure to look for FOX 8's coverage of the event.
Use and search #IdolAuditions on social media to connect with other Idol fans.
Season 14 of American Idol premieres in 2015.