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Fox lowers 'American Idol' age requirement

Justin_Bieber_2Fox is lowering the age requirement to audition for "American Idol," allowing 15-year-old singers to compete for the first time. 

Previously, contestants had to be at least 16 to appear on the show. The maximum age to try out for "Idol," 28, remains unchanged.

"A lot of young, talented people are now seeking careers and representation before they turn 16," said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, executive producer of "Idol." "Lowering the age limit allows us to tap into this talent pool."

Yes, if only the age limit was lowered sooner, "Idol" would have discovered Justin Bieber instead of, say, Lee DeWyze.

The announcement is the first of several upcoming changes for the show, which is expected to name a new judge to replace Simon Cowell and a new music director in the coming months.

Auditions begin in Nashville in July. Here's the "Idol" auditions schedule:

Cities                                      Dates                                      Venues    
Nashville, TN                           Saturday, July 17                    Bridgestone Arena
Milwaukee, WI                         Wednesday, July 21               Bradley Center
New Orleans, LA                     Monday, July 26                      TBA
East Rutherford, NJ                Tuesday, Aug. 3                      IZOD Center   
Austin, TX                                Wednesday, Aug. 11              Frank Erwin Center
San Francisco, CA                 Thursday, Aug. 19                   AT&T Park