Planning to brave the crowds for ‘American Idol’ auditions? You don’t really have to.

The scene outside Time Warner Cable Arena on June 17, 2012, when thousands of people lined up to register for “American Idol” auditions.
The scene outside Time Warner Cable Arena on June 17, 2012, when thousands of people lined up to register for “American Idol” auditions. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

If you want to take a (long) shot at “American Idol” stardom when uptown Charlotte hosts auditions on Friday, feel free to join the throng expected to clog up Levine Center for the Arts Plaza next to the Mint Museum beginning that morning.

However, there are a couple of more-efficient, less-stressful and far less time-consuming ways to try out for the show.

The first is to submit an online audition; the process of uploading an audition video is simple, and you don’t have to stand around in the August heat all day long waiting for your turn to do it in front of real-live people. In fact, the deadline for applying for the show this way isn’t until Nov. 5.

The second method is even easier: Just post a video of yourself singing to a public social media account and use the hashtag #TheNextIdol.

If you do decide to come into the city to try out on Friday, there are a few things to remember. And the most important is the age requirement: Only hopefuls 15 to 28 years old are eligible.

Auditions will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis at producer’s discretion, and hopefuls should be prepared to sing at least two or possibly three songs either a cappella or with their own musical accompaniment.

It is currently anticipated that auditions will start no later than 9 a.m. and will end no later than 5 p.m.; however, even if you are in line before 9 a.m., there’s no guarantee that you will be seen for an audition. According to ABC, if time is running short, producers “may walk around the audition to pick out people to audition (regardless of how early they arrived) based on performing ability, look, style, personality and other factors, at Producer’s sole discretion.”

There’s a whole bunch of other fine print about auditioning here. (Also worth noting: Celebrity judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will not be in Charlotte this week.)

Bottom line? There’s no known advantage to trying out in person as opposed to submitting an audition electronically.

Still, we can understand if you want to be there just to soak up the atmosphere. It’s a rather rare opportunity. “Idol” was in Asheville last summer but hasn’t been in the Charlotte area since 2012, when former judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey made headlines for a dust-up at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Before ABC revived the singing competition this past spring following a two-year hiatus, the Tar Heel State had produced three winners during the initial 15-season run on Fox. N.C. champs included High Point’s Fantasia Barrino, followed by Garner’s Scotty McCreery and Asheville’s Caleb Johnson; no other state has had as much success getting singers to the end of the show.

In the most recent season, two young singers from the Charlotte area eventually found their way onto the show: Johnny White of Hickory and Shannon O’Hara, who fell just short of making the Top 14.