Feb. 7, 2011 at 2:14 PM ET
When Simon Cowell returns to television for his next talent competition, “The X-Factor,” don’t expect him to present audiences with “American Idol 2.0.” According to a recently released statement from the former “Idol” judge, the new show will be much bigger in more than one way.
For instance, rather than competing for an open-ended recording contract and management deal of varying value, “X-Factor” wannabes will face off for a chance at a solid $5 million dollar record deal with Sony Music — the largest prize any reality series has ever offered.
The age range on “X-Factor” will also outsize “Idol.” Instead of limiting the fun to contestants ages 15 to 28, Cowell plans to welcome all hopefuls 12 and up.
"I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group," Cowell explained. "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.”
Of course, whether or not “X-Factor” draws bigger talent worthy of that hefty payday remains to be seen. Viewers will get to decide that when the series premiers this fall on Fox.