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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Search on for US 'Christian Idol'
American Idol winner Ruben Studdard
The second American Idol winner Ruben Studdard had a gospel style
A Christian version of talent show American Idol will debut on a US Christian TV network later this year.

The show, titled Gifted, is being created by Britney Spears' management company, Wright Entertainment, and the Trinity Broadcasting network.

"It is our goal to wrap God's message - His love - in acceptance, in a way that blends seamlessly into pop culture," said spokesman Philip McIntyre.

Auditions will be held at 11 Trinity stations across the US from July.

An audition tour bus will visit the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New York, California and Washington.

Live show

Only those between the ages of 18 and 24 will be able to enter and all must perform either gospel or contemporary spiritual songs.

Two singers will be picked from each state audition and the 24 finalists will then fly out to Hollywood where they will perform before a live audience and celebrity judges.

They will be whittled down to eight contestants - the winner will be chosen by public vote and be managed by Wright Entertainment and Matt Crouch, son of the founders of Trinity Broadcasting.

The Wright group, based in Orlando, Florida, also manages boy band 'N Sync.

Many successful recording artists, such as Aretha Franklin and the late Ray Charles, were heavily influenced by the gospel tradition.

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