'The X Factor' launches audition studios across the U.S.
In an effort to give a voice to the audition-deprived, “The X Factor” (Fox’s newest singing comeptition series, in case you you haven’t heard) announced Thursday that it was teaming with MyStudio to station hi-def recording studios in selected cities across the country. (Is it just us, or does that bring back memories of that “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” episode where Vivian sings in a Record-A-Song booth?)
“It’s such a huge deal for us,” said Anna Madrid, vice president of business development for MyStudios, in West Hollywood with a mock-up of one of the booths. “It’s ‘X-Factor.' It is Simon Cowell. It doesn’t get bigger than that.”
“The X Factor” had six of the mini-studios specially built for $250,000 a pop. Anyone 12 or older -- both solo artists and groups -- can use the mini-studios to audio- and video-record their a cappella audition and, of course, explain what gives them that special “X.” The time allotment for the video is approximately 2 minutes. Recordings, usually $20, are free to auditioners and there will be a representative on site to assist.
“These studios were brought to my attention some months ago, and we think they are brilliant way to audition for those people who haven’t been able to make it to the cities,” Cowell said in a statement.
When the video is complete, auditioners have the option of sending it to “The X Factor” team. But, to provide the complete audition experience, hopefuls don’t have the option of seeing the video before sending it.
Cowell isn’t the first to solicit the assistance of MyStudios. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company teamed with Mark Burnett Productions in casting “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” in Phoenix a few years ago. But “The X Factor” is the first singing competition to make use of the studios. And it’s not likely to be the last, Madrid said.
“It’s going to be the new way these singing competition series find talent,” she said. “The whole concept is mass quanitity. This will be the beginning of new outreach efforts.”
Outside the audition feature, the self-contained studios have been used to produce modeling videos, comedy auditions, job resumes and personal messages and greetings. But the spotlight now is on the singing.
Folks in Honolulu and Phoenix can start crooning on Friday. Additional studios will open in Nashville on Saturday, Anchorage on Tuesday, Kansas City, Kan., on April 15, and Denver on April 16. The audition studios will remain open until April 30.
Lucky hopefuls who are selected by producers to move forward in the competition will advance to the next round of callbacks, in person, in Dallas.
“The X Factor” will air on Fox later this year.
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: A MyStudio station. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox