April 8th, 2011
02:23 PM ET
Can't make it to one of "The X Factor" audition cities?
No worries, just pop into a booth.
During the month of April, aspiring "X Factor" contestants will be able to record their auditions in booths located in Honolulu, Hawaii; Phoenix, Arizona; Nashville, Tennessee; Anchorage, Alaska; Kansas City, Kansas; and Denver, Colorado.
During a conference call on Thursday, "X Factor" creator Simon Cowell said the booths will allow for an even broader search for the next big star by touching areas where auditions weren't being held.
"When we spoke to Fox and we spoke to [sponsor] Pepsi, they wanted to get a bigger reach," Cowell said. "The idea is that we go into as many cities as we can and give more people the opportunity to audition."
The auditions have been going well, said Cowell, who added that he will be viewing the contestants at a later stage in the auditioning process.
"Everybody thinks that I had seen Susan [Boyle] before,I'd never met her in my life," Cowell said. "So when she sang for us the first time and I was genuinely shocked. I like that feeling and that's why I haven't been to any of the open calls yet."
The world will have to wait a bit longer to be surprised with an announcement of who will be joining Cowell and Antonio "L.A." Reid at the judges table, Cowell said. The former "Idol" judge didn't discuss whether Cheryl Cole will be a judge, but he confirmed that Black Eyed Peas lead singer Fergie's name is in the mix.
"All I can tell you is that her name was put forward, but like with a lot of other people we've spoken to we have to check out everyone's availability," he said. "It's not a two-day a week job this. When you're in the live shows, because you are mentoring the contestants you are working five, six days a week."
It's a sought after gig and Cowell said there is plenty of discussion going on behind the scenes about potential judges with lots of opinions being shared. Some potential judges have even taken it upon themselves to audition, he said.
"In Miami today, out of the blue, Gloria Estefan turns up and apparently she did a fantastic job," Cowell said. "I had no idea she was going to be there."
One thing fans do know now is that the show will have a pair of co-hosts.
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, chief executive officer of FremantleMedia North America which produces the show, told The Hollywood Reporter that there will be two hosts.
The new competition will be very different from Cowell's last stint on "American Idol" (which FremantleMedia also produces), she said.
“Our job is to make sure the two shows are as distinct as possible,” Frot-Coutaz told The Hollywood Reporter. “For example: We’re making sure there are two entirely different teams with no overlap in terms of individuals who are working on both shows. And from a format and tonal standpoint, they’re very different."
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