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Simon Cowell’s US The X Factor Will Have A $5 Million Prize

FILE- In this June 6, 2010 file photo, British music mogul Simon Cowell holds his honorary Bafta Award, during the British Academy Television Awards at the London Palladium in central London. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)

Singers who auditioned for American Idol this year are now kicking themselves with the announcement that The X Factor will have a $5 million record contract as first prize.

BBC UK say Cowell said in a press conference:

Talking at a news conference Simon Cowell said: “The top contestant will get $1 million (£619,000) a year for five years, separate from the costs involved in recording and promotion.

“It’s a massive, massive risk but it’s also an incredible incentive. It puts everybody, rightly, under an enormous amount of pressure.

“I believe I can find a star.”

But he admitted: “If they don’t sell a single record they still get to keep the money. It is pressure, because if the wrong person wins, I’m in trouble.

“We’ve got to find somebody fantastic to get the money back [through record sales].”

It is an amazing first prize and one that is aimed to try and make it the highest rating show in the US this year. The cult of Simon Cowell will ensure audiences tune in.

The other different thing about the American version of the show is that people as young as twelve will be able to audition. To be eligible to apply you have to be a US citizen or have rights to work full time there.

Auditions for US contestants begin on 27 March in Los Angeles. Other sessions follow in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Seattle and New York.

The rest of the judges, are yet to be announced, but Cheryl Cole is a favourite to be one of them.