By Michael Slezak
Updated July 23, 2010 at 02:31 PM EDT

Apparently, plenty of wannabe pop stars have their eye on Lee DeWyze’s crown and sash. According to a Fox spokesperson, 26,000 people turned out for the first two stops on American Idol‘s season 10 audition tour.

“The numbers of people turning up to the American Idol auditions in Nashville and Milwaukee have been incredible,” said show creator Simon Fuller, in a release. “These attendance figures are significantly up on the last few years, and there is clearly renewed excitement and interest in the show, which is great to see.”

Idol‘s season 10 search kicked off in Nashville on July 17, and drew 16,000 singers; on July 21, an additional 10,000 showed up to a cattle-call in Milwaukee, Wis.The search continues Monday, July 26, in New Orleans.

Callbacks, in which selected contestants appear in front of the show’s panel of judges, aren’t expected to begin until September, according to sources close to the show.