ONE DIRECTION-Harry Styles of British band One Direction performs on stage during the BRIT Awards 2013 at the o2 Arena in London on Feb. 20. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
by Jane Caffrey
(CNN) — Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen were launched into stardom after getting discovered on YouTube, and now “The X Factor” creator Simon Cowell is setting out to find the world’s next big YouTube stars.
Cowell’s company Syco Entertainment just partnered with YouTube to create the world’s first global audition channel, The You Generation. Aspiring stars can upload audition videos for various categories, ranging from vocals to makeup.
Syco will determine winners every two weeks, and those selected will then become finalists in a global competition for a grand prize.
“We wanted to devise a way that is easier for you to get noticed. It’s a simple idea,” Cowell said in an introductory video for the channel. “It goes way beyond singers or dancers or all the stuff we’ve done before. And all the resources I have here or we have at Sony are all behind it.”
The channel will go live in 26 countries on March 20, and the competition will last 52 weeks with a total of 26 contests.
“It’s the biggest TV channel now in the world!” Cowell said of YouTube. “If you’re good and you’ve got a talent, the fans are going to make you the star.”
Boy band sensation One Direction was largely propelled into fame by British fans on YouTube who spread their work internationally. The band will give a live stream interview on the channel to kick off The You Generation’s March 20 launch.
Cowell, who signed One Direction to Syco Records, added that YouTube has drastically changed the way record labels operate and stars are discovered.
“Years ago you’d have these awful showcases,” he said. “You’d have to trek across London, all the record companies would be there, the acts were normally terrible. The system’s changed now, we have people looking at YouTube all the time. It’s a fantastic vehicle, it’s changed everything! It has literally changed the music business for the good.”