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The X Factor

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Expect the unexpected when the world's only $5 million audition teams superstar judges with new talent from across the country.

THE X FACTOR, last season's No. 1 new unscripted series, gives viewers the opportunity to help discover the next global superstar or breakout music group. The superstar team of judges travels the nation searching for talent 12 years old or over – both solo artists and vocal groups – who are willing to brave the panel for a chance to make their dreams come true. Auditions for THE X FACTOR were held this spring in Kansas City, MO; Austin, TX; San Francisco, CA; Greensboro, NC; and Providence, RI.

In a departure from other singing competition series, contestants not only audition in front of THE X FACTOR judges. Perhaps more importantly, they sing for an audience of thousands, which is often referred to as the "fifth" judge, because their enthusiasm – or lack thereof – can help determine the fate of these hopefuls. This initial audition is the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence it takes to become a global superstar or breakout music act and win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

Those contestants who survive the first auditions graduate to "boot camp" and will be divided into four categories. Not only is it a competition between the hopefuls to stake their claim for the coveted win, but it's also a showdown among the judges as to whose acts will dominate the competition and make it to the finals. The judges may have their say in how the competition progresses, but it will be up to America to decide who ultimately has THE X FACTOR.

In its debut season, THE X FACTOR discovered winner Melanie Amaro and several other breakout stars, including Rachel Crow, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene, who have signed to major record labels. The show featured guest mentors Enrique Iglesias, Rihanna and Pharrell Williams, and performances by musical superstars Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, 50 Cent, Jessie J, R. Kelly, Avril Lavigne, Bruno Mars, Alanis Morissette, Willow Smith and Stevie Wonder.