Is New Show 'Majors & Minors' the Kinder 'American Idol' for Tweens?

"It's not about critiquing, it's about uplifting," explains singer Brandy, one of the show's many musician mentors

You have to be 15 to try out for American Idol, and even if you make it, you're competing against contestants who may have a decade or more experience than you. So what's a talented tween to do?

Now, these young aspiring singers have their own forum -- a new reality show, Majors & Minors. The series, which premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET on The Hub, is a singing competition that brings together several established artists (the "majors") with 12 aspiring singers between the ages of 10 and 16 (the "minors"). Take a look at the preview below!  

And no, this isn't a kid version of Idol. That's already been done, when Idol spun off American Juniors in the summer of 2003. That show failed to catch on, and went away after one season.

Majors and Minors is different. Technically, it's a competition, with the winner receiving a recording deal with RCA/Jive Label Group and an opportunity to be featured in a cross-country concert tour. But no one gets voted off. Instead, all 12 competitors will get acquainted with the music business through time spent in state-of-the-art music studios, with those who've already made it -- including Adam Lambert, Avril Lavigne, Brandy, Colbie Caillat, Leona Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Sean Kingston, Will.i.am, and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.

"It's not about critiquing, it's about uplifting," Brandy told E! Online. A big fan of the show's kinder, gentler approach, she said, "I think when you're that young, if you were to get voted off, it would mess with you mentally…in some way that's connected to losing. Even though it's not, because so many people have been voted off shows and become huge superstars. Jennifer Hudson, by the way."

Brandy was particularly impressed by 10-year-old Ashley Nicole Greene, who belted out Etta James' "At Last" and made it her own.

"These children are just amazing," said Brandy. "They're very very young, and they know exactly who they are. And that's the scary part, because we're supposed to…give them advice. I really didn't know what to say when I was there. I was trying to find something to say so I could sound cool on camera, but it was mind-blowing how these kids knew exactly who they were."

For the record, Brandy is something of an authority on early success: She was just 15 when she released her debut album. 

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