‘Idol’ Producer Patrick Lynn and former contestant Megan Miller offer audition pointers

Try not be to nervous.

That’s the word to auditioners from “American Idol” senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn.

Lynn’s been with the Fox reality competition singing series since “day one.” He discussed next week’s auditions in New Orleans while on a layover in San Francisco Tuesday en route to auditions for Season 14 in Minneapolis. A big part of Lynn’s job is overseeing the first round of auditions — the open call — in each of the audition cities.

“This is just the first round, and it’s actually a lot easier to get through this round than you might think,” Lynn said. “Sing well, sing something you know, and go with something that you want to sing, don’t try to sing something that people are telling you to sing.

“Look at the producers, look them in the eye, show them your personality, smile, don’t stare at the ground with your hands in your pockets. We’re looking for people to be on a television show, so it’s not just about voice, it’s about personality as well.”

Auditioners who want to stand out from the rest of the 4,000 hopefuls expected in New Orleans will want to shake things up, Lynn said.

“We look for people that surprise us. We look for people that we go, ‘Gosh ... wow, that’s great.’”

Louisiana has always had a connection to “American Idol” through judge-now-mentor Randy Jackson, a Baton Rouge native, and since last season, with judge and New Orleanian Harry Connick Jr.

“Harry was a favorite of the producers for a very long time. He’d been a mentor twice, and we were always pushing for him to be a judge,” Lynn said. “It just finally worked out. He was actually in the audience when Kelly (Clarkson) got crowned (the first season). He’s a true fan of the show, and obviously, he’s a real scholar of music, which is something he brings to the show, and we love it. And of course, the guy’s hilarious.”

Back to the auditions, Lynn stressed that new this year, registration and tryouts all take place in one day.

“We’ve made it easier than ever (to audition),” he said.

Catching up with Megan Miller

Editor’s note: Megan Miller, of Ethel, made it to the Hollywood round of “American Idol” for the last two seasons. The Advocate caught up with her in one of the nation’s music hubs, Nashville.

Q. What are you doing now?

I am currently living in Nashville, Tenn. I just moved here in May to sign with a label and put out my very first album. Thanks to the exposure of “American Idol,” I have a fan base that encourages me daily and gives me the backing I need to be successful. I miss Louisiana dearly but I know this is where I am supposed to be.

Q. Will you be auditioning for “Idol” again?

I was not planning on it but after seeing that auditions will be stopping in Nashville and after talking to the “American Idol” producers, I am not against the idea. I’m not sure if I will yet but you may just see me on the screen hoping the third time is a charm this season!

Q. How far did your “Idol” journey take you in seasons 12 and 13?

My first year I was eliminated the first round of Hollywood week. This season when I was on the show again, I was able to make it all the way through Hollywood week. I was eliminated after the final solo round before the live shows. We had to sing through four rounds in Hollywood week this year.

Q. What advice would you give those trying out for “American Idol” for the first time?

My best advice is to remain confident during the auditioning process. So many people auditioning have great talent. The key to setting yourself apart from everyone else is to let them know you believe in yourself by remaining calm and collected. One way I do this is by pretending I’m playing a show rather than being judged. “American Idol” is just as much about casting as it is finding the best singer, so be unique and be you.