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LOS ANGELES — Simon Cowell is enjoying a déjà vu moment. “We were here 10 years ago with a show no one knew about, and I remember thinking, ‘This is fun because you don’t know what’s going to happen.’ And it’s like the same feeling all over again.”

Simon Cowell goes from American Idol to The X Factor, on Fox in the fall.

What happened then, for those who’ve been living in a monastery, was American Idol, the dominant television hit of the past decade. What’s happening now is The X Factor, Cowell’s new singing competition, which opens a series of nationwide auditions at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Sunday.
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Of course, there is one big difference. In 2002, few Americans knew of Idol‘s predecessor, England‘s Pop Idol. Fewer knew its tart-tongued judge, English record executive Cowell. Expectations were low for the summer fill-in show.

That’s hardly the case for X Factor, which is a huge hit in the United Kingdom, and Cowell, who is now a household name. People have been waiting  more than a year for the arrival of the new singing competition, which premieres this fall on Idol‘s network, Fox.

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