‘X Factor’ Firing Britney Spears? 5 Reasons to Keep the Princess of Pop

Jethro Nededog | December 27, 2012 - 4:40 pm

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Are you ready for another round of who isn’t returning to FOX’s The X Factor? Of course, it’s only been a week or so since Season 2 ended and already we have a report that Britney Spears is about to get a pink slip – we’re not talking wardrobe here.

According to US Weekly’s “insider” source, “Britney will get the boot, [though] producers wanted her for the long haul, but it isn’t working.”

In response, a show rep tells Celebuzz, “No one has discussed next year’s judging panel yet – any reports otherwise are complete speculation.”

What isn’t speculative is that judge and executive producer Simon Cowell hired the pop icon to create buzz and that it did. Plenty of people tuned into (or at least talked and tweeted about) the talent competition to see which version of the singer turned up: The vibrant performer from the 90s or the mess who was peeped barefoot at a gas station in 2008.

What showed up was neither. The Spears that appeared for work was clearly more reserved, somewhat scared of the press, newly made over but still rough around the edges. Many fans grew tired of her terse answers, but some were thrilled when she did pop off with a punchy one-liner. We were also excited to see her range of over-the-top facial expressions.

Of course, Spears and young Disney Channel alum Demi Lovato were still unable to attract more viewers to the show. The X Factor ratings trended lower than Season 1’s numbers and its finale — the highest viewed of the season — was still about 3 million viewers shy of last year’s crowing episode. But, does that mean Britney should be fired?

As I stated before in my article on how to fix the show for Season 3, The X Factor should keep the pop star. Here are five reasons why:

1. The show really needs some stability. Viewers like to form a relationship with talent show judges. Let’s face it, contestants come and go – few really become names afterward – so viewers want to know there’s some constant when it comes to the judging panel. After Season 1’s bloodbath and the recent announcement that L.A. Reid had resigned his post, the FOX show needs to earn its viewers’ loyalty. That doesn’t happen with constant shifts in its superstar judges.

2. Britney could surprise us next season. In the last few years, Spears hasn’t had the best relationship with the press. Clearly, she’s still working through that. I say this as a reporter who spoke with the show’s contestants and judges after every episode this season (and Season 1, by the way). We were lucky if Spears spoke with us for more than a minute – combined, the entire season. Possibly, Spears can return next year with a much higher comfort level with the press and promotion. Or, the FOX show’s producers can, hmm, work with her…

3. Crouching Britney, hidden pop star. More often than not, Britney has spent the season seemingly more introverted than anyone expected. But, let’s face it: Some of the best moments of the season included her off-the-wall reactions in the moment and her unexpected jabs at both the contestants and the judges. There’s something exciting there and I can only expect those moments to occur more frequently on Season 2.

4. Britney’s mentorship got results. Carly Rose Sonenclar may not have won, but she came pretty damn close. Actually, the “Oops… I Did It Again” singer didn’t do too badly in the mentoring role. Not only did her singer come in second this season, but when the Top 10 rankings were announced Britney had the most singers in the running than any other judge with Sonenclar, Diamond White, Beatrice Miller and Arin Ray still in the mix.

5. The show’s failures can’t be totally blamed on Britney. Clearly, Spears isn’t responsible for the fact that the tone of the show from the “reality-style” auditions to the over-the-top productions felt disjointed. Or that viewers didn’t buy for a moment that the “judges’ homes” rounds actually took place at the mentors’ real dwellings. And even that the selection process, at times, felt like it favored drama over actual talent. The show still needs to establish its musical credibility. And, shouldn’t Cowell stand behind his own recent claim that they expected the ratings to be lower this season, because there are too many talent shows on TV? So, where does the buck stop?

Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Jones and L.A. Reid… Should Britney be another X Factor casualty?

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