Fox has released the first set of audition dates for the fourth edition of American Idol, and also announced that it has increased the upper end of the competition's age requirement from 26 to 28. As in previous seasons, the minimum age requirement will remain 16.

Auditions for the fourth edition of the hit FOX series American Idol will begin in Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Participants can start lining up AFTER 6:00 AM on August 3, meaning that the first applicants will have spent well over 24 hours in line by the time they manage to perform in front of Simon, Paula and Randy (better bring some wet wipes folks!)

In addition to Cleveland, auditions dates have also been announced for Washington, DC, Orlando, St. Louis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Anchorage and San Francisco. The exact locations for each city will be announced shortly. Beyond meeting the program's age requirements, applicants must also be eligible to work in the United States.

The audition dates for the cities are:

• Cleveland, OH - August 4
• Washington, DC - August 18
• Orlando - August 26
• St. Louis - date TBA
• New Orleans - August 31
• Las Vegas - September 12
• Anchorage - September 28
• San Francisco - October 5

The next season of American Idol will begin in January 2005.