The competitors preparing to take the field today (Aug. 8) at the Rose Bowl had "American Idol" fame in mind, not football.

The competitors preparing to take the field today (Aug. 8) at the Rose Bowl had "American Idol" fame in mind, not football. Producers of Fox TV's talent show braced for an onslaught of would-be contestants as auditions for the sixth season were scheduled to begin. The search was to continue in six other cities through September.

The series has demonstrated its prowess as a starmaker by turning unknowns including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood into overnight sensations. As the top-rated TV show last season, it has shattered expectations that it couldn't sustain its popularity.

"American Idol" also continues to deepen its pop culture imprint. Taylor Hicks, the latest winner, and finalists from last season are on tour, other contestants are pursuing solo careers and Lifetime is airing a movie about and starring past winner Fantasia this month.

On the new season that begins airing in January, "American Idol" will up the ante with a songwriting contest in which professionals and amateurs will have the chance to compose tunes for the finalists.

Upcoming auditions for singers will be held at the Alamodome, San Antonio, on Friday; Continental Air Arena, East Rutherford, N.J., Aug. 14; Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 21; FedExForum, Memphis, Tenn., Sep. 3; Target Center, Minneapolis, Sep. 8; Key Arena, Seattle, Sept. 19.

Those intending to try out were asked to register up to two days before an audition, but that offered no guarantee of being seen and heard on the big day. "If our time is running short the producers may walk around the venue to pick out people to audition ... based on performing ability, look, style, personality and other factors," according to guidelines posted on the show's Web site.

Passing the initial scrutiny is just the beginning, with follow-up auditions to winnow the pack even more. Those rejected in one city can jump to another and try again.


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