Brian Hiatt
July 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The John Stevens of the world better watch out: ”American Idol” is allowing ever-so-slightly-older potential Idols to compete against the show’s many teen entrants. Instead of turning away singers older than 26, the talent competition will now raise its age limit to 28, Fox programming chief Gail Berman told the Television Critics Association, according to the Associated Press. ”I’m sure there are people who are tremendously talented above that but we’re talking about people who hope to have pop careers afterwards,” Berman said.


Berman added that despite many complaints, the show will not change its telephone voting system. ”The phone system is probably the most sophisticated phone system ever put together in the country,” she told the TCA. New auditions for the show start Aug. 4 in Cleveland, before hitting cities including Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Twenty-eight-year-olds, get ready.

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