Fourteen years since kickstarting One Direction's career on The X Factor, renowned music executive and TV figure Simon Cowell is on the hunt for the UK's next major boy band, launching a novel venture distinct from his typical talent show formats. Cowell plans to conduct auditions for young talents aged 16 to 18 in Liverpool, Dublin, and London throughout the summer. 'It's peculiar, but post-One Direction, no UK band has achieved significant success, which baffles me,' Cowell remarked. 'Being part of a band is arguably the most effective pathway into the music industry. Diana Ross rose to fame as part of the Supremes, and Beyonce as a member of Destiny's Child.' Unlike The X Factor, this new project will not feature weekly televised episodes or public voting but may evolve into a documentary series. 'As a viewer, I find this format more compelling, especially if you're an aspiring artist. You'd want to understand why certain individuals are selected and the process they undergo,' Cowell explained. 'This aspect, the highs and lows, has not been fully explored in previous shows. Trust me, there are plenty of lows.' The X Factor's last UK broadcast was in 2018, after years of declining viewership. 'Many still watch these shows, now also on platforms like YouTube and TikTok,' Cowell noted. He believes talent shows serve a crucial role in launching new artists. 'With the sheer volume of daily song uploads and global artist breakthroughs, only two UK artists have made it globally in seven years, which is alarming. These shows often provide the first big break, even if it's just a viral audition.' In recent years, K-pop groups like BTS have dominated, building massive international fan bases. 'K-pop has filled a gap in the market,' Cowell observed. 'Seeing BTS sell out Wembley Stadium confirms there's still a massive demand for bands, possibly greater than ever.' Cowell, who envisions his ideal boy band as 'individuals with a clear identity,' began his search this month. Regarding the initial response, he shared, 'You never know until the day of the auditions. If turnout is low or the talent isn't right, we'll need to continue the search.'