Lock Up Your Mom: 'Idol' Raises Age Limit

Maximum age to compete is now 28.

Think you're too old for "American Idol"? Think again.

The show has decided to raise the maximum age for contenders from 26 to 28, according to the official "Idol" Web site. Despite Simon Cowell's frequently stated opinion, the minimum age remains 16.

The reason for the change, according to FOX Entertainment President Gail Berman, is that the network felt too many talented older people had been turned away. Don't expect that age-limit bar to be raised any higher anytime soon, though. Berman told the Television Critics Association: "I'm sure there are people who are tremendously talented above that [age], but we're talking about people who hope to have pop careers afterward."

Auditions for the show's fourth season, which will begin airing in January 2005, kick off on August 4 in Cleveland at Cleveland Browns Stadium. "Idol" hopefuls can audition in eight cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., on August 18; Orlando, Florida, on August 26; St. Louis (date TBD); New Orleans on August 31; Las Vegas on September 12; Anchorage, Alaska, on September 28; and San Francisco on October 5.

Competitors can begin lining up at 6 a.m. on the day prior to the audition and must be in line by 8 a.m. on the day of the auditions.

Full contest rules and announcements of audition locations can be found at idolonfox.com.

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