American Idol’s Simon Cowell will return to the judge’s chair on The X Factor on FOX this fall — and in a move unprecedented for a television talent show, the winner of X-Factor will take home a recording contract worth $5 million.
The X Factor, a spinoff of the smash UK show of the same name, features individuals and groups of all ages competing for a record deal under the guidance of a cluster of “celebrity mentors.” The show is responsible for rocketing “Bleeding Love” singer Leona Lewis to international acclaim.
In the American version, contestants will compete for the largest guaranteed prize in television history — a $5 million record deal with Sony Music/Syco, the label set up by Cowell in 2002. There are also no age restrictions for the competition.
“I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group,” Cowell, who produces the reality show, said Monday. “I’ve never believed there should be a cut-off age for talent, and we are going to put our money where our mouths are with the $5 million recording contract.”
Auditions kick off on the Los Angeles Sports Arena on March 27. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Seattle, Dallas, and Miami will also host auditions. Specific dates and venues will be announced at a later date.
The X Factor judging panel is also set to be unveiled later this year. Potential judges include Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and English girl bander Cheryl Cole.
Will you be watching?