After this winter's X Factor bloodbath, which found Simon Cowell firing two of his three fellow judges on the fledgling reality TV singing competition (Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger), the media has been speculating furiously about their replacements. Bold-faced names from Nicki Minaj to Katy Perry to Janet Jackson have been rumored for the judging gigs, with the latest reports naming Britney Spears as a leading contender. Though the pop diva was reportedly offered $10 million, on par with Jennifer Lopez's American Idol paycheck, she's apparently demanding twice that amount. Would hiring Spears be a good investment?
She'd be a pretty bad judge: Britney would undoubtedly pull in plenty of intrigued viewers, says John Mitchell at MTV, but that doesn't make her a good fit for the judging panel. In past on-camera interviews, she's come across as visibly nervous, suggesting that she'd lack the confidence that lets J. Lo and Christina Aguilera shine on their respective series. But above all, she simply doesn't have the credibility and authority. "Spears is not known for her singing." Would anyone take this chronic lip-syncher seriously when she issued critiques on pitch and phrasing?
"Does Britney Spears have The X Factor?"
At least the bar isn't set too high: Remember, Spears would essentially be replacing Nicole Scherzinger, one of the most passionately maligned reality TV personalities in years, on the judging panel, says Annie Barrett at Entertainment Weekly. "No one is expecting brilliance here." Besides, Spears embodies exactly, "if not crudely" what The X Factor is all about: The search for someone who is easily "packaged into a successful pop star." Her critiques may not be the most insightful, but that shouldn't matter. It's Britney Spears. "You're lucky she showed up!"
"If Britney Spears became a judge on The X Factor, would you watch it?"
There are better options: It's frankly hard to imagine Spears delivering "off-the-cuff criticism and bantering with her fellow judges," says Gerrick D. Kennedy at the Los Angeles Times. Other "bold-named divas" would stand a better chance. Pink, for example, famously and publicly fought current X Factor judge L.A. Reid over the direction of her career several years ago; pairing those two on the panel should ensure entertainingly "snarky bickering and a competitive spirit." Hiring a country star like Faith Hill could broaden the show's appeal. Other intriguing possibilities: Shakira, Alicia Keys, or Mary J. Blige.
"X Factor: Seven judge-worthy divas beyond Britney Spears"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- The science behind Captain America's shield, The Hulk's anger, and more
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
Subscribe to the Week