Updated: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 01:03:09 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Simon Cowell debuts YouTube talent hunt

British pop mogul Simon Cowell launched an innovative online talent contest Wednesday, inviting wannabee stars from around the world to post clips of their skills on YouTube.

Simon Cowell debuts YouTube talent hunt

Simon Cowell debuts YouTube talent hunt

"The X Factor" and "Got Talent" guru Cowell joined forces with the video sharing platform to run 26 biweekly contests, called "The You Generation", for hopefuls in 26 countries over the next 12 months.

"We wanted to devise a way that it's easier for you to get noticed," explained Cowell in an interview in his padded-wall office posted on the "You Generation" channel.

Contestants immediately began uploading videos in a host of categories -- vocalists to chefs to make-up artists -- after an hour-long introduction, live on YouTube, by the Cowell-managed Brit boy band One Direction.

Entries will be judged by talent scouts at Cowell's production company, in a joint venture with Japanese electronics and entertainment powerhouse Sony.

Cowell hopes the initiative will make up for a slide in viewing figures for conventional TV talent shows as more artists bypass traditional routes to success by harnessing the power of the Internet.

Notable among those previously discovered on YouTube is Justin Bieber -- but Cowell's idea is to have a one-stop YouTube channel for fans to size up new acts without having to surf all over the website.

The first artists posting on Wednesday swiftly collected hundreds of thousands of views, although comments varied between positive reviews and criticisms of Cowell's tastemaker status in the pop music industry.

YouTube is striving to become more than simply a place to watch amusing cat videos by encouraging, and in some cases bankrolling, original programming.

"It's the biggest TV channel now in the world," Cowell said. "It's changed everything. It has literally changed the music business -- for the good."

Mar 20, 2013 10:10PM
I totally agree with Simon Cowell. Let's face it, he's not the most popular celebrity on the planet but just look at what he achieved in global reality shows when traditional tv moguls were sticking their heads in the sand. Not only that, but all the pros know that his blunt and aggressive tv image is not really him but contrived to generate viewer interaction, controversy and publicity. In other words he's a true professional in terms of both business model and showbiz success. And as for YouTube, he accurately expresses what millions or even billions have seen for themselves. It's an infinitely more creative medium than Facebook or any other restrictive social network, because YouTube is open to anyone anywhere in the world. Cowell has nailed it yet again, and all I can say to him is "Great stuff! More power! I love what you're doing! You're literally changing the whole world for the better."  
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