Britney Spears Rumored as X Factor Mentor: Would Live TV Really Be a Good Fit for Her?

britney spearsI didn’t take it too seriously when Britney Spears’ name first surfaced as a possible replacement for exiting judges/mentors Nicole Scherzinator and Paula Abdul on The X Factor. After all, the pop diva isn’t exactly renown for singing live. And what’s more, she conducted much of the promotion for her last record, 2011’s Femme Fatale, via email, incurring the wrath of talk-show emcee (and subsequent The Voice host) Carson Daly when her management team insisted they be allowed to approve and edit a pre-taped interview with the “Womanizer” singer.

Apparently, though, massive name recognition is trumping actual qualifitcation for the job at hand. Deadline.com reports that Simon Cowell & Co. have offered Britney a cool $10 million to take a seat in the Paula Abdul Memorial Chair.

Sure, the curiousity factor of Britney navigating the waters of live TV will be off-the-charts, and initial ratings for X Factor‘s second season will probably spike. But what happens after the novelty wears off? Can Britney spot and develop undiscovered talent? Can she handle the rigors of providing concise, thoughtful feedback during the live performance telecasts (when she can barely handle a pre-taped Q&A)? Will her persona translate as adorably spacey or downright depressing? And why isn’t Cowell considering any of his and Reid’s behind-the-scenes female contemporaries, like producer Linda Perry or former Universal Motown chief Sylvia Rhone, who might be able to help a Lakoda Rayne or a Josh Krajcik soar to new heights, instead of saddling them with dubious song choices and staging?

Ultimately, The X Factor will succeed or fail by the quality of its musical performances, by its ability to produce the next generation of radio stars, and not by the tabloid recognitiion factor of the four folks fake-arguing over critiques or preening to the tune of “Carmina Burana” at the top of every episode. If Cowell hasn’t come to that realization after X Factor‘s incredibly loud and extremely exhausting first season, then maybe a rumored fall season of The Voice doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.

What do you think? Would you hire Britney for the X Factor gig? Take our poll below, then explain your vote in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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34 Comments
  1. katherine says:

    There’s a major problem with this, and it’s called a conservatorship.

    • SallyinChicago says:

      Well I can’t speak about conservatorship, I thought that was over with….but I will write — I betcha Paula is sh**tting mad. First she refused to go back to Idol for the pennies they offered her, then she lost her dance show, then she’s fired from XF. And Paula was only paid about $3Mn. Talk about cut-throat!
      Jlo is rumored to be making $12-15Mn on Idol….and now Brit Brit is going to make $10Mn? What’s wrong with this picture?

      Not only that — can Brit Brit talk? I’ve never heard her talk.

  2. Josh says:

    This is why I’ll never watch X-Factor…American Idol has it’s flaws but at least I feel like they’re finding a singer…X-Factor is about finding an entertainer(which is what Britney is…because well she can’t sing)

    • Josh says:

      American Idol could care less if they find a singer. They want a couple good looking guys for the girls to go crazy for, a couple decent female singers who will never win, and contestants with sob stories they can use to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

      The ‘entertainers’ who you seem to put in a lower category have longer lasting careers than any AI contestant, with the exception of Kelly and Carrie. So let’s not pretend like AI is the true competition for people who can sing. It’s just as produced as any other show.

      • SallyinChicago says:

        Idol cares about getting the RIGHT people on the tour. That’s where the money comes from….TV show is one thing — selling T-shirts and CDs on tour is another.

  3. Kassi says:

    A bit dissapointed you brought up the “she can’t sing either” argument. That get’s thrown around a lot and I totally disagree with it. I do not need to be a Mariah Carey myself to judge other peoples singing.

    That being said, I don’t think she’s suitable for this job for most of the other reasons you named. And I say this as someone who really likes and respects Britney. I think her talent is quite underrated.
    On paper she would be perfect for this job. She’s undoubtedly one of the most successfull singers of our time and has been for over a decade. She was always more daring, fearless and innovative than she has been given credit for. She actually has more credentials to take on a job like this than, say, Cheryl Cole.

    But I agree that her personality would most likely not work on live television. Maybe she would pull a Steven – “I liked it, yeah, beautiful”. Would be too much of a risk, if I were the one to decide here.

    Well, Simon would definetly win me as a viewer, at least the first episodes. Didn’t watch last season but for Britney I would give it a try out of curiosity.

    • Stacey says:

      I think she can do it. In unguarded moments. I think she’s pretty funny. But my only concern would be, can she critique. Handle saying NO. Saying that sucks. Be truthful with suggestions for suggestion. Of course with X Factor. The mentors are only mission it seems is to save their teams. So it seems slightly different. But then Britney has been known to surprise people before. So she might actually be pretty good.

    • SallyinChicago says:

      Putting it nicely — she has no RANGE.

  4. KJ says:

    As much as I don’t enjoy the fact that Britney doesn’t sing live, I hardly see a difference between her and Jennifer Lopez on Idol. J-Lo doesn’t sing live (or if she does, it’s not very good) and yet she’s been able to provide decent critiques on that show. Paula wasn’t exactly known for singing either, and if anything, Brit-Brit will be able to bring the ratings up (even if only at the beginning).

    • Aprilcot26 says:

      J.Lo gives decent critiques? Clearly you didn’t watch Idol last season. But I will agree with you that Britney and J.Lo are about on par in the talent department.

  5. brandon says:

    In a word: no. But that Christina vs. Britney feud resurrection would be pretty entertaining.

  6. Mike says:

    Ratings wise it’s probably the biggest get that’s out there, but it’ll be a disaster. She can barely form sentences these days that aren’t scripted.

    • Danielle H says:

      Pretty much this. Although I haven’t seen a Brit interview in forever, so I don’t know how she’s sounding these days (coherent or.. not). But Guys, you have to see how smart this is! It’s a HUGE draw.

  7. Stacey says:

    I am a major fan. I don’t know. On some level; I do think she can do it. She probably would be fine in the auditions. Whether that translates the live television or not. I have no idea. I think she could mentor the young kids. But then on the other hand; her interviews since her meltdown have been pretty controlled. So it’s really a coin flip whether it works.

    I totally see why Simon is going this direction. Big stars helped the Voice. And behind the scene music producers are fine for Simon or LA Reid. But they need to show what this kids are trying to be. A major star. Also, I think Simon knows. They have one more chance to get this right. Otherwise they won’t get a third season. If they go down from the mediocre ratings they have this year; they won’t be back. So big names bring big attention.

    Everyone will be excited to see how Britney will do. Until the live shows start which will be the biggest test! Also Britney brings viewers.

    And also for Britney. Why she would do this. Steady income. More time with her kids. While she works on her new music. She seems to be on a extended break at the moment since the tour ended. So this will be a chance to keep her name in the news. But for something positive!

    But who knows if it would work!

  8. Natalie says:

    BUT its not like Paula, Nicole are great live singers either. Britney at least has the star power

  9. Neil says:

    Simon did this in the uk too with one of the judges… Sharon Osborne and Louis Walsh were ‘fired’ then a few episodes into the new season Simon announced that it wasn’t working a brought Louis back. Paula will be back by the third week!

    • Ana Muti says:

      Paula probably won’t do it, as I don’t believe she really wanted to this year. I’d be interested if he brings Cole back–I liked her and I don’t believe SyCo gave her a chance.
      .
      Anyone but Britney.

  10. Rax says:

    In my opinion, Britney is the perfect choice! X-Factor is about finding the next star… no matter how much one criticizes upon her vocal range and her face off with live TV.. she is the original Pop Princess! and whenever she has given an interview or in normal life (even in her haywire CHAOTIC days) she seems to have a pleasant personality! There should be no arguement against Brit’s Star power!

    Being the Ex-brand ambassador of Pepsi which heavily endorses X-factor doesn’t hurt her chances either!

  11. Ross says:

    To start, I am a MASSIVE Britney fan and always will be. However I think this is a horrible idea. Nothing to do with her singing talent (yes, she lip-syncs and doesn’t have the best voice anyway, but she does have that “X Factor” that made her a world wide superstar), but all to do with whatever has happened to her. There’s all sorts of speculation and no one knows for sure. My guess is that she’s heavily medicated by those in charge of her, and it holds her personality back. If you look at interviews from her career up until 2004 she is chatty, funny and full of life. From ‘Blackout’ onwards she is awkward, confused and struggles to string an interesting sentence together. She has the odd moment where old Britney comes out (there was an interview with the UK’s Daybreak last year with Ross King and she was like a completely different person) but on the whole something isn’t right. And this won’t translate well to The X Factor.

    And I would be more than happy to be proved wrong on this, but I can’t see this doing anything but hurting her career, which after a brilliant album last year is back on track again.

    • Meghan says:

      Wow Ross, you hit the nail right on the head. For most of her career, she was funny, bubbly, and clearly engaging. Now she answers the same questions about what she has in her dressing room (vanilla candles, if you must know…I’ve heard her answer this question way too many times) and what singers she listens to. She seems to be saying as little as possible. Her team seems to keep her under lock and key. I would love to see Britney on the X Factor as I’ve been a big fan of hers for her whole career (which is more than half of my life…insane). But I really want to see her shine and I hope she is capable of that.

      • Gorm says:

        If she ever shines again it wont be in front of a spotlight, her sell by date has passed. I’d like her to collect a few large and low-commitment paycheques like this and then retreat from public life. She needs long term therapy, a traditional education (no tour tutors dont count) and to make a clean and safe break from as much medication as she is able to. There isnt much more she can contribute to the cultural body of music, she never was a musician, always a performer. I’d like for her to retire and find joy within her family, stability and whatever private pursuits fill her with happyness.

  12. Melissa says:

    My biggest disappointment with the X Factor was the reliance on staging, dancing, and other props over good singing. I cannot see any scenario in which Britney improves this situation – she’s going to pull out the dance moves, she’s going to pull out the props… and her contestants are going to suffer. And that’s independent of any judging ability or inability.

  13. w says:

    More reason that I won’t give XFactor a second chance. I’ve never understood Britney’s success because I find her voice so studio-processed – close to Alvin the chipmunk. And I don’t believe she is eloquent enough to critique singers. But the show is terrible anyway – over-produced to the extreme. So, not surprised at another tacky addition.

  14. Freyja says:

    Who knows Britney might be able to do it and it might be good for her, to show the world she isn’t that crazy girl anymore. However; would that add more stress to her life and she freaks out again?

    It’s a catch 22 Simon would need to be very careful about this, because I don’t see Britney and Simon actually getting along personality wise.

  15. Gorm says:

    Its great exposure in a very controlled environment. Its a great paychque and a chance to present yourself as intelligent if she is able to manage a vocabulary of music terms she has been exposed to for much of her career and not engage in Simon’s narcicisstic antics.

    Aside from flogging some warmed-over “sultry” tour-pop for another round this is the best possible job she can have given her limits and her legal inability to manage her own affairs. Show up, collect 10m, pay taxes, pay manager and lock whats left of that money away forver in a bullet proof trust for her two sons to be released in small increments over 20 years after turning 22.

    Even if Britney does well, Simon’s folly wont be around for a 3rd season if The Voice continues its success and ABC & Kelly Clarkson’s show takes off. Paycheques that size for someone in Britney’s shoes wont be around long.

  16. socalgal says:

    Two names–Marilyn McCoo & Patti LaBelle. ‘Nuff said!

  17. Ana Muti says:

    If I were someone, or knew someone trying out for X Factor this season, I’d be worried for them if BS really is taken on as a mentor/judge.
    .
    Honestly, she has no artistic or mentoring cred as far as I’m concerned. If she’s hired it’ll show beyond doubt that SyCo has gotten desperate for ratings. I won’t promise I’ll watch the immanent train wreck.

  18. Lindsay says:

    They would do well to find a smaller but respected name that knows what they’re doing as a judge/mentor and allow the American public to grow to love them. A kind of Ben Folds person. I was fairly young and not paying attention when AI first started, but did Americans have a clue who Simon Cowell was before they began their love/hate relationship with him? X Factor (and AI) needs someone like that.
    As for Britney, I won’t judge on whether she can know what’s good and what’s not, but she really doesn’t seem like she would be able to express any constructive criticism effectively.

  19. Forwarddad says:

    I feel Simon is too smart to pay all that Money and not know what condition Britney is in. I think it’s a ploy by him to float her name to get some publicity during Idol and Voice runs. What concerns me even more is the possibility of Leeann Rhimes (sp).

  20. Jonesy says:

    Haha, she rejected the $10 million. Hope the producers move on and get someone who sings and performs LIVE without lip-syncing. If the contestants aren’t allowed to do it, then the mentors known for performing should be able to perform without it too.

  21. Nicole says:

    Hey, I want the job as host. I need to know who to get in touch with? You need someone who will make this thing pop with the rest of the group and I am your girl!