Last night was the Season 2 premiere of The X Factor, Simon Cowell's latest British singing competition import on FOX. And though it didn't quite hit American shores with the pomp and circumstance everyone anticipated last fall, the show has done some retooling in the hopes of drawing bigger audiences and avoiding defeat at the hands of NBC's The Voice. The most significant of these sophomore season changes happened on the judging panel, with Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger out the door with new recruits the likes of Demi Lovato and BRITNEY FREAKIN' SPEARS joining the team. How's that for some star power, huh?
After finally giving up on American Idol last season, my desire to start watching another three hours per week of a singing competition is pretty non-existent, but I decided to DVR last night's X Factor premiere just so I could fast forward through it this morning and get a glimpse of how Britney fit in to the reality judge role. The past few years have definitely been a bit of a roller coaster for Ms. Spears, and a gig like this could be just the ticket to putting her back in place as one of America's sweethearts (hi, J. Lo!). Or, it could completely backfire (hi, Nicole!).
So how did Britney do? Did she robotically deliver pre-written critiques? Did she shave off all her hair and flash her cooch at the first hint of a wonky note?
Nope. She was pretty great. She held no punches against the weaklings and gave compliments to the talented contestants beyond Jennifer Lopez and Paula Abdul's favorite "that was beautiful." Best of all, when things got awkward—like when a man she used to record with a decade ago burst into tears at the sight of her before singing atrociously—she didn't hide it, and when things were obviously way over-produced—like the girl who used to be bullied and could not stop crying—she politely clapped and didn't cave to the pressure of shedding tears (I'm looking at you, Simon).
So, while my desire to sit through hours upon hours of mediocre warbling hasn't changed much, Britney's candor is certainly enough to keep X Factor on my DVR so I can cheer on her critiques over my morning coffee. Especially if they continue to be edited into supercuts like the one that appeared in last night's episode:
My favorite part might be the quick "nah no" toward the end, like she's brushing off a pesky mosquito. Atta girl, Brit.
[Image Source: FOX]