by Susan Cohen
Just because you've watched every season of American Idol doesn't mean you know exactly how the audition process works. Many minutes and hours and days go into separating the William Hungs from the Carrie Underwoods. If you've got plans to reach for the stars at the local auditions this week, we've got a rundown of some of the more important rules that you should know:
• The auditions will take place at the North Charleston Coliseum (5001 Coliseum Drive).
• As of June 26, are you between the ages of 15 to 28? You're in luck. Fourteen and 29-year-olds? Bully for you.
• This whole thing is a process. Starting at 7 a.m. on Wed. July 20, and until 8 a.m. on Fri. July 22, you've got to pick up a wristband. This isn't your audition, though. You've got to come back on Sat. July 23 to (hopefully) prove yourself in front of J. Lo. You're not allowed to camp out, and you've got to be there by 5 a.m. on Saturday. We hope sleep deprivation doesn't damage your vocal chords.
• If your Craigslist roommate happens to work for the Fox Broadcasting Company, don't even bother showing up. Same goes for parents, siblings, ex-husbands and wives, stepchildren, and anyone else immediately related to you.
• Bring two forms of ID (birth certificate, driver's license, passport, school ID), and at least one must have your picture on it. You need to prove your age. If you're under 18, you need to bring your parent or guardian, and they need to bring their ID. Auditioners also must prove they're citizens of the United States or that they're at least legally allowed to work here.
• Producers will decide who will get a wristband and seat number. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones, don't take it off. Under any circumstances. We don't care if you're having an allergic reaction. Once that thing leaves your wrist, you're done. No Steven Tyler for you.
• If you want to bring a non-talented friend or family member for moral support, they must register with you and get their own seat ticket and wristband.
• Leave the kids under five at home.
• Did you make it to the audition? Cool. Can we say that we knew you before you were famous? Wait, you're not quite there yet. Have two to three a capella songs prepared to perform on Saturday.
It's a lot to keep in mind. And these aren't even all the rules. There's a five-page PDF document available at americanidol.com/auditions that you should probably download and read before you get your hopes too high. And best of luck.