Britney’s Been Fired From ‘The X Factor’ (Thank God)

by Bradley Stern


So, Britney‘s getting “fired” from The X Factor. Allegedly. As one of her most unwaveringly loyal fans, I say: Thank God.

At some point early after the souped-up season premiere, it became painfully obvious that Britney slowly began running fresh out of fucks to give to the tedious, long-winded series.

She shined bright like a Diamond White at first during the audition rounds, providing an unscripted zinger or two and being playfully cast in editing as the unimpressed pop princess. But her personality quickly became muted as the live shows began, allowing the rest of the panel–including the always eager, constant spiller of truth tea (and best actual judge) Demi Lovato–to take the reigns, leaving Britney to look like a goofy face-making guest judge on a weekly basis.

Of course, I’ll miss the weekly outfits–both good and bad. I’ll miss her incredible Spearitual vocabulary (“True star.” “Amazing.” “Constructive criticism.” “Keesha.”) And I’ll certainly miss the Holy Spearit’s endlessly adorable, highly GIF-able moments–the “Ice Ice Baby” armography, the lightning strike terror, the “Oh God, they’re playing ‘Scream & Shout'”, the Fifth Harmony shady side-eye.

But I won’t miss seeing Britney labeled “boring” or “dull” by the press, eager to watch her come undone on live television. I won’t miss the fake, fumbled “arguments” with Simon. I won’t miss hearing Britney getting booed for anything apart from a glowing review. (For that, each member of the audience should be buried alive in a pile of unsold copies of Bionic.) And I definitely won’t miss devoting 3 hours of my life each week to see how her hair looks.

And judging by her glazed-over look, gum chewing, empty stares off into the rafters, clenched jaw grins and terror-filled eyes towards the end of the competition, B probably won’t be too sad to see herself go, either.

Perhaps more importantly, though: The US edition of X Factor is an embarrassment to the franchise. X Factor UK‘s produced actual stars–names that have actually carried internationally: Leona Lewis. Olly Murs. Little Mix. Season 7 of the UK X Factor alone brought us Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd, and a little boy band by the name of One Direction.

Last year’s X Factor US, by comparison, brought us Melanie Amaro–a capable R&B-pop flavored vocalist who’s now three singles deep and yet to chart, with an album still nowhere in sight–and Rachel Crow, a little girl made briefly famous after having her entire life ruined by Nicole Scherzinger. (Note: She is just one of many.)

And now, we’ve got a new winner to watch (and by that, I mean forget about after a month): Not the increasingly amazing girl group Fifth Harmony, not Celine Dion-channeling wunderkind/space alien Carly Rose Sonenclar, but good ol’ country boy Taylor Hicks Tate Stevens as this great, God-fearing nation’s reigning winner. Golly gee.

Having Britney on X Factor was a nice little diversion from her painfully obvious absence from the music scene in 2012, and a solid exercise in getting the notoriously shy pop goddess (especially post-2008) to break out of her increasingly hardened shell. But it was high time to walk away from (or, I guess, not be invited back to) this silly, scripted world of fake drama, over-the-top spectacle for the most mediocre of performers and mile-a-minute tears. (So, so many tears.)

Was she really going to return for a second season, anyway? Doubtful. Besides, with a $15 million check from FOX in the bank and plans for an eighth studio album underway, Britney’s got way more important things to focus on than shading CeCe Frey every week.

So, so long X Factor USA! And here’s to the return of Britney, our True (Pop) Star, in 2013.

  • http://twitter.com/zombieroyalty Daniel

    To be honest, I never really thought she’d be in it for more than one season anyways… Had she been invited to return I really doubt she’d have accepted.

  • http://twitter.com/ch33rylips Joanna ☂

    The XF was nothing more than free PR training for Britney I thought everyone knew that.

  • Hert

    I’m ready for the queen to come back with a new album. Judgney was cute to watch, but one time is enough

  • http://www.facebook.com/kittykat3544 Katie Gustafson

    But now I won’t get to shot a shot each time she said “I feel like” at the beginning of every critique.

  • http://twitter.com/dosomethin2nite Joanna

    AMEN! Time to get to work on that 8th album. I really really really hope she doesn’t come bk for a 2nd season. The show was great exposure for her & she was a great mentor to the amazingly talented Carly Rose but being a judge is not her calling. She’s shy & reserved and these shows need someone who loves to hear the sound of their own voice. It’s time for Britney to get bk in the studio & make magic happen!

  • Anon

    Britney deserves that 15 million because they expected her to carry the show(which she did, I mean her face was what everyone talked about it might as well have been declared the X-Factor winner)and now they are using her name to distract from how truly AWFUL this show is. So boring and bloated with commercials and hosts talking as much as they can to fill the time slot.

    However the X-Factor did reinforce the main problem with Britney these days. She keeps doing things that she really doesn’t want to. From the Femme Fatale era to this, Britney just seems so disengaged. I seriously need a FTR 2 so she can spill some true tea on why she is releasing albums so superficial and far removed from anything actually relating to Britney. (I love Femme Fatale but……)

  • http://twitter.com/yourbody_ Fraser

    I always liked the show, with or without Britney. I don’t think Demi was a better judge than Britney. They were at the same level to me. Britney was more straightfoward with her comments, but she could be way more constructive knowing she has such an amazing run in this industry since she was a child. She was, however, the best mentor of the entire competition. If the show wasn’t rigged, Carly Rose would have obviously won, but since L.A. announced he was leaving the show, the producers made it look like he left with glory. Demi used to ramble A LOT while giving comments on every performance and was stupid on those fights with Simon, but she at least said what was on her mind.

    I think The X Factor was great for Britney fashion wise. She stepped up her game quickly after the auditions, and looked flawless almost every week during the live shows. It was also great confidence wise, because Britney became guarded after 2007 and like she said in For the Record, “you have to be that way,” but she was simply not showing how happy she was working anymore. The show gave Britney her spark back and I couldn’t be more happy. Am I sad because she won’t return? A bit, because I loved having a year full of Britney, and I’m already missing out watching her on live TV. But it is what it is.

    I don’t believe this US Weekly source, because she only signed for a one season deal. Plus, Simon himself said he didn’t even discuss with Britney about the possible return for another season. She’s currently working on her 8th studio album and I think The X Factor would be a GREAT plataform to put that out. Can we please take “Scream & Shout” for example? The song had no live performance besides will.i.am using it during a DJ set at the Jingle Bell Ball. The only promo it got was the music video premiere on the show and the Beats By Dr. Dre commercial. It quickly became Britney’s first top five hit since 2008 in the UK, it’s stable on the Hot 100, selling over 140k each week since the video premiere, it’s back to #12 on that chart, has reached number one and the top five in many other countries.

    So I think we can agree that it was helpful for Britney’s career overall.

  • Manuel

    I think it was for the best. From the beginning my concern was that Britney is terrible in live interviews. She doesn’t look or sound like a mature superstar, her judging, lets be honest, was poor…. In some cases not barely a complete sentence. Demi was opinionated and more articulate, despite she is ten years younger and will never rise to the world superstar level Brit is. What she really brought to the show was glamour. Specially in the second half of the show. But again was that sparkle12 million worth. I doubt it.

  • http://twitter.com/rafaelurfle RUF

    “Britney’s got way more important things to focus on than shading CeCe Frey every week.” LOL, Bradley, I love you.

  • Mierzwiak

    Or “Definitely blah blah”.

  • Galli

    I said Britney on X Factor was a dreadful mistake on Exhale months before the fact. I am not prepared to gloat about my prophecy coming true. In fact, I blame the people that wanted to put her through that humiliation just so they could pick her apart with a scientist’s microscope. She was put on this earth to cast various illusions and truths about womankind, but not through herself – through character personae she portrays through music videos and in song. Britney as a figure in public life reveals the mundane everywoman – if you want that, talk to any woman on any street in any town in the western world. Britney was born for art and X Factor is artifice.
    We know from this horrendous exercise in torture who are the true fans & who are the voyeurs.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaPingley Joshua Pingley

    Album 8 is underway, and that’s all that she needs to focus on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/berke.akkus.73 Berke Akkuş

    I don’t care X Factor but i CARE Britney’s music.. I cannot wait for her 8th album.. !!!!! She will rule 2013 for sure..

  • http://www.facebook.com/berke.akkus.73 Berke Akkuş

    She got 15 millions USD.. She’s the most expensive judge..

  • pcrush

    i dont think it was a mistake. she was a meme star, and that has kept things moving. as a side note, we’ve been rewatching “chaotic” for “research” on a project we are embarking on this year, and man, she was hyper, and much smarter than people believe. i hope someday she can get off the meds so her personality shines thru again.

  • ibreathepop

    Bradley, you’re perfect at bringing the thoughts and feelings of a britney-stan TO THE POINT. Love you,
    yours truly,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001134657347 Patrick O’Brien

    I want her to leave the show too, she is way to good for it. I started watching it just for Britney, but stopped soon after because everything else was boring. Simon is lame, and so is the black dude. It was a flop and none of it was Britney’s fault.