‘X Factor’ reaches out to the sticks

MyStudio booths bring auditions to remote locales

Fox’s “American Idol” is known for visiting major markets to audition talent in large arenas and theaters, but the net’s “The X Factor” plans to reach out to aspiring stars in smaller cities by setting up unmanned audition booths in malls.

Network and producers Simon Cowell and FremantleMedia have pacted with MyStudio, a maker of HD recording studios, to build the $250,000 audition booths and install them in select markets. The initiative also amounts to advance promotion for the show, which is set to bow in the fall.

The booths, measuring eight feet by 10 feet, will be set up in such cities as Honolulu, Phoenix, Nashville, Anchorage, Kansas City and Denver starting this week, with the first opening today in Honolulu and Tempe. Auditions will take place through the end of the month.

Aspiring stars who are at least 12 years old will be able to sing for 90 seconds and send their HD audition videos to producers. Producers will then select those who will advance to the next round of callbacks for a live audition.

Founded by Larry Ryckman, MyStudio HD Recording Studios, owned by Studios One Media, uses greenscreen technology to provide backgrounds for videos. Thousands of licensed karaoke tracks are offered by EMI and Universal Music.

Once recorded, consumers can save their videos online at MyStudio.net, enabling them to upload the recordings to social-networking sites.

A recording session lasting up to five minutes typically costs $20, though auditions for “The X Factor” will be free.

The booths will not only help producers reach a new pool of talent by expanding the audition market but also allow the production team and judges to view audition footage from anywhere in the world via their computers.

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