The X Factor Sets Key Dates, Offers Winner Super Bowl Spot

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At today's Television Critics Association press panel, Simon Cowell revealed key dates and spilled key details regarding the first season of The X Factor. To wit:

Why did Cheryl Cole get the boot? After two cities’ worth of audition sessions, Cowell said, “we felt that she was going to be more comfortable doing the UK show than the American one [and] I thought it would be been good for the show over there."

X Factor Team

Will Mariah Carey appear on the show? It sounds that way. “She selfishly got pregnant,” Simon joked, “which is why she didn’t end up as a judge.”

What will the winner receive? In case $5 million isn't enough, he or she will also be featured in a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.

As for key show dates, read below.

Wednesday, Sept. 21 (from 8 to 10 pm): Season Premiere
Wednesday, Oct. 5 (8-9:30 pm): Contestant Boot Camp Begins
Tuesday, Oct. 25 (8-10:30 pm): Finalists Revealed
Wednesday, Nov. 2 (8-10 pm): First Live Performance Show
Wednesday, Dec. 21 (8-9:30 pm) Live Season Finale, Part 1
Thursday, Dec. 22 (8-10 pm) Live Season Finale, Part 2