On the heels of news reports confirming erstwhile Mouseketeer Britney Spears will join The X Factor panel, Sonny With a Chance star-turned-pop-diva Demi Lovato will also take on mentoring/judging duties when the reality singing competition returns to Fox this fall.
Fox president Kevin Reilly would neither confirm or deny the Spears/Lovato reports, but the buzz is that both will make appearances at the network’s upfront presentation in New York later today.
Hiring the 19-year-old Lovato appears to be a play by executive producer Simon Cowell to court a younger demographic for The X Factor than its genre competitors The Voice and American Idol, whose respective youngest judges are 31 (Christina Aguilera) and 42 (Jennifer Lopez).
Still, a couple of huge questions will loom over Lovato’s new role: First and foremost, does the “Skyscraper” singer really have the musical experience and knowledge to successfully mentor a quarter of the show’s Season 2 finalists? Compared to her cohorts on the panel — Cowell, producer/label chief L.A. Reid, and Spears, who’s sustained a pop-music career for almost two decades — Lovato’s résumé is as light as beaten egg whites. Secondly, can the young star hold up to the pressure of live television? In November 2010, Lovato checked into rehab for “emotional and physical” issues, and has publicly stated that her recovery remains a daily, ongoing process.
Bottom line: Lovato’s presence on the panel could draw some new (and younger) eyeballs to The X Factor, but I’m not convinced she’ll prove a long-term asset to the panel.
Lovato and Spears are joining X Factor after an inaugural season that scored decent ratings that were nevertheless considered a disappointment relative to the amount of hype and press the show received. As a result, executive producer Cowell fired judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, plus host Steve Jones, earlier this year.
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