Cowell's Syco Entertainment empire and YouTube announced Thursday that they are launching "The You Generation," a global online talent contest that is seeking entries from people with "unconventional and original talents"—from musicians and photographers to makeup artists, magicians and chefs.
Syco says the contest, which starts next month and is due to run for a year, will seek auditions in a different category of talent every two weeks. Entrants can upload their pieces on a dedicated YouTube channel, to be viewed by the public and judged by professionals associated with Syco.
There will be prizes—exactly what they are has yet to be announced—every fortnight and a grand prize at the end of the year.
Syco calls the initiative an experiment aimed at discovering new talent. It's the company's bid to tap the power of social media, which has launched millions of wannabe celebrities—and some genuine stars, including Justin Bieber.
You Generation will be available in 15 languages and 26 countries around the world.
Syco is a joint venture between Sony Music and Cowell, the entertainment mogul who became a household name as an acerbic judge on TV talent shows. Syco's projects include the "X Factor" and "Got Talent" TV shows in the U.S. and Britain, and its music acts range from Susan Boyle to One Direction.