The news comes as little surprise. Just after the competition’s December finale, a swirl of “Britney Spears quits X Factor” rumors hit the web. While Spears, 31, certainly brought buzz to X Factor, her subdued performance, at times robotic and forced, begs the question of whether she was even asked to return. X Factor has seen ratings increase, but not a surge since she joined the show. As she was considered an investment to boost ratings, she may not have delivered a $15 million performance.
Producer and fellow judge Simon Cowell spent the season defending his decision to cast Spears, arguing in October that she 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.”
However, Cowell’s most recent remarks were decidedly less enthusiastic. “I don’t know yet, to be honest with you,” he admitted to E! in early December 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.”
No word on how much of a hand Cowell had in her departure. TMZ claims the decision was Britney’s. “Britney loves Simon, she likes Demi Lovato but her thing is music,” an unidentified source reported.
Read more: Popular Critic