NEWARK - Thousands of musical hopefuls have descended on Newark in search of singing stardom.

They've come for open auditions for "The X Factor," a televised singing competition slated to debut this fall. It's the creation of former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell.

Thousands of people lined up in the rain outside the Prudential Center yesterday to secure their chance at an audition today.

Newark is one of six open audition stops. Tryouts already have been held in Los Angeles and Miami, and more are scheduled for Seattle, Chicago and Dallas.

Contestants can be as young as 12, and there's no upper age limit. At stake is a $5 million recording contract.