The new talent show on Fox television will start auditions for solo artists and vocal groups aged 12 and above in Los Angeles on March 27 before hosting more auditions in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York, New Jersey and Seattle.
Cowell said the winner would receive a record deal with Syco, a joint venture between Sony Music and Cowell, and the same label tied to Scottish singer Susan Boyle.
"We are going to put our money where our mouths are with the $5 million recording contract. I'm doing this show in America because I genuinely believe we can find a superstar," Cowell said in a statement.
I still don't know how he's going to do both shows but rumours abound that he may 'rest' X Factor in the UK this year. Anyway, this is going to be fun, assuming he gets the judges right. Kids of 12 could be a bit precious and worrying and quite how the cute little girl of 12¼'s mother will feel about some hairy bikers' group of rockers sharing the rehearsals dressing room will make some headlines no doubt.
Getting some group acts, though, is a good move and, despite a group never winning in the UK series, the excitement around 1 Direction in 2010 and JLS in 2008 (and, dare I say it, Jedward in between!) added a whole extra dimension that American Idol lacks. Add the ingredient of a behind the scenes or after the event type show along the lines of The Xtra Factor and it will be a winner for Fox.
One thing that will be intriguing is how many audition rejects from AI will give X Factor a try. I'm thinking those that didn't quite make the Top 12 rather than Pants On The Ground there. It could also be a superb opportunity for some British acts to get some valuable prime time TV spots courtesy of Syco.
Pity about letting oldies in, though. Nothing more tedious than watching really old folk warbling in amongst the young folk who usually look plain embarrassed. America, lock up your grannies. Simon's in town! That sign should be below the Population sign on all roads.
OK. Now to find out about the panel.