American Idol is also “a learning lab” the contestants call “star school” or “boot camp”

Behind the scenes of American Idol 5, the contestants are getting an education of sorts. No, not this type of education, but one that teaches them everything they need to know about being singing stars.

Bo Bice tells MTV.com that “they call it star boot camp. That’s what they do, and you can see the refinement.” Season five contestant David Radford agrees. “I have learned things here that you can’t learn anywhere else,” he said.

Debra Byrd, the show’s vocal coach told MTV what “star school,” which some contestants call “boot camp,” involves. “I teach the things that should help you from now until you’re in the nursing home. Things that should really help you vocally no matter what the gig is,” she said.

She helps them keep their voices intact and learn how to not oversinging; MTV.com notes that, “as the season goes on, star school starts to become more about performing — blocking, using your body, singing while dancing, those sorts of things.”

Byrd used to be a backup singer for Barry Manilow, who, coincidentally, appears on the show tomorrow night. The contestants went to Las Vegas to prepare for this week’s show, and “rehearsals were being held on the Hilton’s stage over the weekend with Hilton Headliner Barry Manilow probably offering some sage advice … to the finalists,” the LA Times’ Movable Buffet blog reports.

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