CTV has announced the nine-city, eleven-week audition tour for the second installment of its Canadian Idol series.

In honor of first Idol winner Ryan Malcolm, the tour will kick off where all all began for Malcolm -- Ottawa, the city to which the then Kingston waiter made his two-hour audition trek just nine short months ago.

After beginning February 13 in Ottawa, the tour will travel eastward to Halifax (February 23), St. John’s (February 29) and Montreal (March 4) before arriving in Toronto (March 11). Following a brief three-week hiatus, the tour resumes in Winnipeg (April 6), travels to new audition cities Regina (April 14) and Edmonton (April 19) and wraps up in Vancouver (April 27).

Auditions are open to all Canadians between the ages of 16 and 26 as of February 1, 2004. Producers have selected venues to accommodate an expected larger turnout (last year, over 16,000 auditioned) and to allow for indoor line-ups since the auditions will occur while the cold Canadian winter is still raging in full force (last year's tour begin two months later.)

The auditions will be held as follows (all dates are subject to change):

• Ottawa, Friday, February 13, The Salons @ Landsdowne Park
• Halifax, Monday, February 23, Halifax Metro Centre
• St. John's, Sunday, February 29, Delta St. John's Hotel & Conference Centre
• Montreal, Thursday, March 4, Le Centre Mont-Royal
• Toronto, Thursday, March 11, SkyDome
• Winnipeg, Tuesday, April 6, TBA
• Regina, Wednesday, April 14, TBA
• Edmonton, Monday, April 19, TBA
• Vancouver, Monday, April 26, TBA

According to Susanne Boyce, President of Programming for CTV and Chair of the Media Group, the tour announcement "marks the start of another magical journey for thousands of Canadians and millions of viewers." "If the response to the first season of Canadian Idol is any indication, we’re in store for another extraordinary year."

Once again, all audition information for Canadian Idol can be found on-line at www.idol.ctv.ca. CTV has also announced a new application process for those planning to audition: Idol hopefuls should visit www.idol.ctv.ca to “RSVP” for the auditions and to download and complete the Regional Release Form which must be brought to the auditions. (Release Forms will also be made available in each city).

Those planning to audition can also find helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), audition tips, and contest complete rules and regulations on the website, a summary of which follows:

• Applicants must be Canadian Citizens or Landed Immigrants.
• All competitors must be legally eligible to work in Canada.
• Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 26 on February 1, 2004.
• Applicants should download, complete and bring with them to the audition the Regional Release Form found online.
• Two pieces of ID (i.e. birth certificate, driver’s license, passport etc.) including recent photo ID must be presented at the audition.
• Applicants under the age of majority in their province must bring the Regional Release Form, available online, signed by their parent or guardian.
• Applicants are ineligible if they are under contract for any entertainment related talent (including modeling).
• Applicants should be prepared to sing two songs a capella; no music accompaniment is permitted.
• Applicants should be prepared to spend up to four days in the audition process. Applicants will be processed on a first come, first seen basis. All applicants in line by 8 a.m. on the first day of auditions will have the chance to audition.

In December, CTV announced the return of Canadian Idol for a second season, featuring host Ben Mulroney, judges Farley Flex, Jake Gold, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner and correspondent Jon Dore.

The second season, expected to debut this summer, builds on the enormous success last summer of the original Canadian Idol. Recognized as one of the best productions of the Idol format in the world, Canadian Idol become Canada’s most-watched (English-language) Canadian series since the advent of electronic measurement. Indeed, almost 6.5 million viewers tuned in during the two-hour finale last September.

Canadian Idol is produced in association with CTV by Insight Productions, along with Atlantic Canada-based Rink Rat Productions and Alberta-based Aquila Productions. John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby are Executive Producers.