There are plenty of books, DVDs and video games out there designed to help train your vocals so you can become the next American Idol.  But just as important as what you do is what you DON’T do.  When auditioning for American Idol, there are some major landmines that contestants still step on.

Here are seven simple things that, if done during an Idol audition, will almost certainly spell your demise.

Men Singing Women’s Songs

Last season Paula Abdul praised Kris Allen for “shopping in the ladies’ department,” but for the most part, a guy singing a song by a female artist is a recipe for disaster.  When a man walks into the audition and says he’ll be signing Whitney Houston or Britney Spears, there’s really no point for him to even sing.  He’s already lost.

Wearing a Stupid Costume

Standing out in a crowd is important, but you should never do it with a ridiculous Halloween costume.  If you show up to Idol auditions dressed as a cowboy or a French maid or a clown, you’re done.  However, there are exceptions to this rule, as proved last year when Norman Gentle and Bikini Girl both made it to Hollywood.

Auditioning with a Mariah Carey Song

Mariah Carey’s 8 octave range spells disaster for even talented singers. Season after season we see auditioners struggle to hit Mariah’s high notes. So, unless you happen to be trained in opera, it’s best to avoid songs that call for Mariah’s signature falsetto like the plague. (Whitney Houston songs also tread similarly dangerous territory.)

Being A Less Than Lovely Lady

I’m sorry ladies, but this is a sad truth.  You can be a butt-ugly dude and still make it to Hollywood on American Idol, but if you’re a lady and anything less than cute-as-a-button, your chances are slim to none.

Thinking You’re the Best

Confidence is important, but not cockiness.  If you’re a really amazing singer, you probably know it and you don’t need to broadcast it.  But if you walk into the audition talking about how your voice is God’s gift to the world and how everyone tells you how great you are, there’s a good chance you’re going to bomb.

Singing a Signature Idol Song

Has a former Idol winner or runner up performed a signature version of your audition song? Is your audition song the number one hit from an American Idol winner? Did last years winner audition with the song you’ve chosen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, find a new one STAT. Few things kill your Idol dreams faster than Simon being able to say, “Kelly Clarkson did that so much better.”

Being One of the Best Auditions

This sounds incredibly insane, but it’s true.  If the judges claim you’re the best audition ever or that you have “It,” chances are you’ll be gone in the first day of Hollywood week. If Randy Jackson said anything like “a thousand, bazillion percent yes” after your audition; you my friend, are a total goner.

Abbey Simmons

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV