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American Idol to Premiere in January

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If the Clay Aiken Christmas overload is not enough for you, there’s plenty more American Idol coming soon. The fourth installment of FOX’s talent hunt is set to premiere Jan. 18, the network has announced.

The big news will not only delight Idol‘s millions of fans – the show drew more than 25 million viewers last season – but also network executives who have struggled to find a show that can match that sort of audience interest.

This time out, auditions were held in a variety of far-flung locales, from Las Vegas to New Orleans to Cleveland. And the show is incorporating some rule changes, most significantly the ages of eligible contestants, which now ranges from 16-28 years old.

Meanwhile fans of Aiken, who finished in second place to Ruben Studdard during the show’s second season, are in for a holiday treat. Aiken begins a 21-city tour dubbed “Joyful Noise” on Sunday in Pasadena, Calif. He will be backed by a 20-piece orchestra, which will be led by a conductor.

Aiken will also star in A Clay Aiken Christmas on NBC Dec. 8, which will feature Barry Manilow and Will & Grace star Megan Mullally.

Fans eager for other Idol favorites can check out FOX’s American Idol Christmas Special on Nov. 24.