'American Idol' to expand with 'World Idol' special this Christmas season

NEW YORK: It promises to be a one-of-a-kind show for Rupert Murdoch's Fox and could very well bring in bumper ratings that flatten the competition.

Fans of the music contest American Idol are in for a treat this Christmas.

A World Idol two-part special will air on Christmas and New Year's Day. This will see the winners of localised versions of Pop Idol including the American winner Kelly Clarkson go head-to-head in London. The other countries that will be represented include Canada, Lebanon, South Africa and Poland.

Reports indicate that each jury member will be from one of the countries competing. Viewers around the world will be able to vote and the results will be announced around a week later.

To prevent bias fans will have to vote for a competitor from another country. Reports also indicate that the vote will take into account population differences between the competing countries. An Indian version of the show is in the works at Star.

The Idol franchise began in the UK in October 2001 as Pop Idol. Since then it has been replicated in over 20 countries. The World Idol organisers, including American Idol producer Simon Fuller, are aiming to find what they call "the world's ultimate pop superstar". The actual recording of the show will take place early next month.

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