Simon Cowell's new show, "The X Factor," isn't even on the air yet and it's already breaking records -- by announcing that the show's winner will nab a $5 million Sony record deal ... the highest prize in TV history!

Cowell, Sony Music, FreeMantle Media North America and FOX made the announcement this morning -- where they also gave out a little more info as to who's eligible for the big prize.

"The X Factor" will be open to anyone 12+, with no upper age limit, and auditions will kick off March 27 in L.A. -- followed by auditions in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York/New Jersey and Seattle.

“I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group,” said Cowell. “I’ve never believed there should be a cut-off age for talent, and we are going to put our money where our mouths are with the $5 million recording contract. I’m doing this show in America because I genuinely believe we can find a superstar.”

Those looking to compete should check out the show's website now and sign up for audition information.

"The X Factor" makes its U.S. debut this fall.

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