4 Things Singers Need to Know About Reality Show Panels

Microphone on stage

An audition panel want you to be the best you that you can be – says Jai Ramage.

Jai is a pop and musical theatre industry coach who auditions and coaches for TV talent show, The Voice UK.

She explains what is going on inside the heads of the audition panel – and how you can help make their lives easier.

1. We want to appreciate your talent

My days in front of the audition panel are long gone but the sensations and emotions involved in putting myself up for scrutiny have never left me.

Sometimes I even dream that I’m in the audition room and no one is paying any attention, I’m grasping for words that I just can’t seem to find. and I have no idea how the song goes…thankfully I wake up!

I now find myself on the other side of the table, comfortable in my chair with a cup of tea in front of me, fully appreciating the talent and dedication of the auditionees.

I always thought the panel were criticizing my performance, picking apart every bit of me from my technical ability (or lack of it), to the composure in my personality (or lack of it!) It never occurred to me that they may have been viewing my audition with positivity.

2. We want you to be the ONE

What the audition panel are really thinking is that maybe you could be the person that they are looking for. They have an aim of finding someone who is right for the job, getting them onboard and going home satisfied that the mission has been accomplished.

They WANT to fill the space, give out the job, cast the role.

When you walk through the door they are hopeful that you are that person. They WANT to fill the space, give out the job, cast the role. If you approach an audition aware that the panel are on your side, you are less likely to let self-doubt creep in and sabotage your performance.

3. We don’t want you to be riddled with nerves

Many years ago, while working on the casting of singers for a big show, I overheard the choreographer and director exchange views on what they were thinking. Over my head (I was very low in the hierarchy and on my knees cleaning up spilt coffee at the time) they expressed how destructive nerves were being that day and that they were not seeing what people could really do.

Nervous energy can be helpful, but there is a point when it obscures the capability of the singer and this is frustrating for panel and singer alike. This is what the panel don’t want to be thinking.

4. We don’t want you to be swamped in negative thinking

The panel just want you to do what you do, to the best that you can do it

As an auditionee I would overthink and analyse every aspect of my performance, my appearance, my suitability for the role (and I might not even know what role I was up for), the availability of the role (even though I didn’t know what role it was?!), who else was auditioning and whether I, or they, were more suitable (for the unknown role) and so it went on.

The time surrounding the audition was spent wasting energy trying to guess the unfathomable. It seems ludicrous now that I have learnt from the opposite side that the panel just want you to do what you do, to the best that you can do it, without destructive nerves – and get the job!


My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Rachel Kennedy Rachel Kennedy - Sandcastles

Good job Rachel. You have a warm tone and good access into your falsetto quality. I like the emotional connection you have as the song builds and gets more dramatic. You could play with adding some brightness into the tone to make it more resonant in places. Even just adding a smile (with your face but not with you eyes if it is a sad song!) while singing can brighten the tone. Well done for delivering such a committed performance. Thank you for sharing your voice with us.


Jai Ramage vocal coachJai is a Certified Master Teacher in Estill Voice Training. She works as a freelance vocal coach in theatre, pop and TV and acts as voice consultant to several top theatrical agencies and pop management companies. Current clients include The Vamps who recently won ‘Best British Group’ in the Radio One Teen Awards and Lucy O’Byrne who is playing Fantine in Les Miserables. Jai continues to coach on The Voice since its transfer from the BBC. She has been involved in the casting process on Series 1-6 and has coached contestants for the Blind Auditions on Series 1, 2 & 6. Jai is vocal coach on the first Voice Kids show for ITV that will air in Summer 2017. www.jairamagevoice.com


  • Kim Chandler

    What a wonderful, positive article written from somebody who has seen THOUSANDS of auditionees of all different ability levels, ages, colours, sizes & styles :)

  • Janelle Sadler

    Humm…why I could never be accepted on a singing contest. I’m nervous and hobbled by self doubt and perfectionism in the audition process. Never fails. The best gigs I ever had were usually gotten by referral. I admire people who can appear confident in every situation. I have to air my angst for some reason! Haha! Performance art, I call it. :)