Opinion Brief

Will Britney Spears and Demi Lovato revitalize The X Factor?

The notoriously erratic pop supernova and the 19-year-old Disney Channel star will join Fox's singing competition next season as judges... for better or worse

After weeks of speculation, Fox confirmed Demi Lovato and Britney Spears as the newest judges of its reality singing competition The X Factor during the network's annual upfronts presentation to critics and advertisers on Monday afternoon. The two pop stars will join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the panel, replacing Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul, who were fired after the show's first season. Both new hires are unlikely choices: 19-year-old Lovato is a former Disney Channel star with only a few mainstream radio hits, while Spears (who will reportedly earn $15 million for one year on the show) is notoriously erratic and not exactly known for her vocal talent. But are these precisely the personalities The X Factor needs to rebound from a lackluster first season?

They'll save the show: I'm more likely to watch now that Lovato and Spears are judges, says Brittany Mahaney at And Pop. Lovato will bring a unique young perspective, setting X Factor apart from its rivals. And Spears' appeal is obvious: She's such a wildcard that people will tune in just to see how she fares. Unlike many reality TV judges who "offer wisdom from their past successes," both stars are relevant now. And since both have overcome personal obstacles, audiences will be rooting for them to succeed."Why we're more likely to watch X Factor with Demi Lovato and Britney Spears"

The dynamic will be wrong: Lovato is the wrong choice to sit alongside Spears, Cowell, and Reid, says Jenni Maier at Crushable. A four-person panel works best when two judges are "wonderfully delightful and charismatic trainwrecks." Take The Voice: Judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine provide legitimacy while Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green "bring that bizarreness factor." Hiring Spears was a step in the right, semi-crazy direction, but Lovato will be too poised and nice to contestants. "If Britney is the Xtina of The X Factor, then judge number four needs to be the Cee Lo Green." Lovato is too safe of a choice."Demi Lovato isn't anywhere near crazy enough to appropriately judge The X Factor" 

Maybe these stars shouldn't have agreed: "It's no secret that both women have had their share of problems stemming from living in the glare of the spotlight," says Caroline Goddard at She Knows. Spears suffered a very public nervous breakdown in 2007 and now must have all of her affairs controlled by a conservatorship. Lovato went rehab in 2010 for cutting and an eating disorder, and recently said she wasn't sure if she was ready for the spotlight again. Sure, Lovato and Spears will bring more star power to a show that suffered from an underwhelming debut. But it might come at the cost of their personal well-being."Demi Lovato lands The X Factor gig"

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