YouTube talent hunt set for launch
One Direction are to launch Simon Cowell's latest worldwide talent hunt with a live online interview.
Cowell is creating a year-long contest, called The You Generation, in which hopefuls with a range of skills from make-up artists to chefs will audition on video sharing website YouTube.
The boy band - one of the biggest acts on the media mogul's books - will mark the launch of the competition on Wednesday evening with a live streamed interview just before they take the stage for their latest sell-out concert.
Each fortnight organisers will hold a new contest to find the best in a different skill, and will be judged by experts in that field as well as executives from Cowell's company Syco.
Each winner will receive a cash prize every second Friday and eventually 26 finalists will go forward with the hope of winning a grand prize at the end of the year.
The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent supremo announced the new online talent search earlier this month.
Cowell said of his decision to turn to YouTube: "We wanted to devise a way that it's easier for you to get noticed. It goes way beyond singers or dancers or the kind of stuff we've done before, and all the resources I have here - or we have at Sony - are all behind it. So if you're good you're going to get noticed and you're going to get discovered."
He said he became aware of the power of YouTube when Susan Boyle's audition from Britain's Got Talent was seen by people around the world. Her performance of I Dreamed A Dream is said to have been seen more than 500 million times.
Cowell said: "What it did, it made this 47-year-old who no one have ever heard of, living in a little house with her cat, the most famous person on the planet - that's what YouTube can do for you overnight. It is incredible."
One Direction will launch the competition - launched in association with Skype - at 7pm on Wednesday, with further details at www.youtube.com/yougeneration