Britney Spears may lose her position as a judge on Fox’s singing competition The X Factor after only one season, according to reports.
While Spears has certainly brought buzz to X Factor, her subdued performance, at times feeling robotic and forced, begs the question of whether she will be asked back. X Factor has seen a ratings increase, but not a leap. As Spears was considered an investment to boost ratings, it remains unclear whether she will be asked back.
Earlier this year, a reporter asked Spears if she would be interested in a second season (X Factor’s third overall) and she replied “definitely,” yet the word is still out as to whether producers (mainly head man Simon Cowell) agree.
Over the summer, Cowell was thrilled to have the singer, noting “she’s one of the most talked about—not just pop stars, but people—in the world today.” Cowell continued, “She’s still hot, she’s still having hit records, and she’s still controversial. There’s a reason for that.” Likely due to the platform of the show, Spears’s collaboration with Will.i.am “Scream and Shout” shot to the top of Billboard’s digital downloads chart.
Spears was certainly a “get” for the show, and they paid dearly for her presence, to the tune of a reported $15 million dollars.
However, Cowell has spent the season defending his decision, arguing in October that Spears had proved “a lot better than everybody thought…She has been, I think, a very, very good judge.” Yet critics did not agree, calling her performance “boring” and commenting on her overuse of the word “amazing.”
Cowell’s most recent remarks are decidedly less enthusiastic. “I don’t know yet, to be honest with you,” he admitted in early December to E! when asked if Spears would be returning. “I haven’t had the conversation with her whether she’d want to, what other commitments she’s got.”
E! also prodded Cowell if he would like Spears back, and he noncommittally answered, “Yeah, I think I do, yeah.” Fox has yet to make an official statement.
Cowell is known for mixing up the blood on his judges tables, giving Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger the boot after just one season as well. If Spears stays, Simon will likely overhaul her onscreen presence. A vocabulary coach might be a good place to start.