The process of the American Idol auditions has always intrigued me. Every city the Idol crew visits presents an unenviable challenge for the producers – they have to both find the best talent each city has to offer and make sure that they put enough awful auditions in front of the judges to appease the audience. They have to pare down the thousands of singers who show up down to a manageable handful for the judges. A lot of the responsibility comes down to the preliminary judges, a group of experts who we never see on TV. In fact, I’m sure there are still American Idol viewers who assume that everyone who shows up for the Idol auditions gets to sing in front of Paula, Simon and Randy. Last week, through a random contact, I got in touch with a man named DJ Bradley, one of the “bad” auditions from American Idol 8. I interviewed him, and we talked about his motivations, his expectations, and what the entire process was like.
You can listen to the full mp3 of the interview below.
DJ currently works as a photographer in BuddyTV’s hometown of Seattle, Washington. This year marked his second attempt at auditioning for Idol. While DJ had no real expectations of making it through to Hollywood, he also didn’t assume he wouldn’t make it. It was hard to get a real read on how confident he was in his singing ability, though you can check out the below clip of his audition and form your own opinion.
DJ said they took the worst part of his audition to show on TV. He also admits that singing Celine Dion was not the right choice. Interestingly, DJ auditioned in San Francisco, but Idol ended up airing his audition during the season premiere from Phoenix, Arizona. These are the kind of disingenuous editing tricks that Idol always employs. There’s nothing wrong with it, I suppose, but it is intentionally deceiving.
I’ve always assumed that a number of the “bad” auditions on American Idol are staged. People will do anything to get on TV, and perpetrating a giant ruse to get in front of the judges isn’t out of the question. And, even though the Idol brass might suspect that some people are putting on a show, they look the other way, knowing that a lot of it will make quality television. However, I didn’t really entertain the idea of people like DJ Bradley, who audition with good intentions, perhaps hoping that they can beat the odds and advance to Hollywood, despite the knowledge that maybe they aren’t the best singer in the world. Mostly, DJ was looking to have a good time.
In the interview, he urges potential contestants to do their best to stand out during the initial audition. It’s not all about pure singing – you have to have personality.
DJ Bradley Photography Homepage
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer