Britney Spears, Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato left their mark at the historical Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood last night, when they literally placed their hands in cement outside the theater. The group is gearing up for their big premiere tonight and they are crossing their fingers that this season will be spectacular! The most anticipated part of the new season is Britney Spears who was tempted to join The X Factor by a reported $15 million salary after a 14-year singing career that made her the world’s biggest pop phenomenon of the 2000s.
X Factor creator Cowell is banking on her huge fan base and a strong curiosity factor to give his show a second chance with audiences after a disappointing first season in 2011 that attracted about 12.5 million viewers, and ended with the firing of two judges (Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul) and the host (Steve Jones).
Jones is set to be replaced before live episodes begin in November by a likely male-female duo yet to be chosen (Kevin McHale of Glee, Kelly Osbourne and Khloe Kardashian are among the rumored candidates).
And in what TV pundits expect to be a tough contest for the most viewers, The X Factor returns to Fox television for a second season on Wednesday, after The Voice moves to the fall slot on NBC for a three-night season opener, starting on Monday.
A survey by Yahoo! TV and Entertainment Weekly showed that 80 per cent of those questioned were excited about Spears joining X Factor. Some 59 per cent of 18-35 female viewers said they would tune in to see how Spears, and fellow new judge, 20-year-old singer Demi Lovato, will fare.
Spears is little known outside her stage persona and choreographed sell-out concerts of hit songs like Circus and Toxic.
But according to advance clips of early audition rounds, she has a sharp tongue for poor singers, and she is being promoted as competing with the sarcastic Cowell himself as the nasty judge on the show.
‘She is surprisingly quite mean. She is difficult to please,’ Cowell told reporters last week.
But Hibberd noted that Spears was not well known for any off-stage wit.
‘That’s not to say she won’t succeed. I am sure the first couple of episodes she will be packaged well and there will be some strong curiosity tune-in. But everything you know about Britney isn’t really going to matter two weeks after the premiere,’ he said.
Spears and Lovato are ‘doing great,’ according to Cowell. ‘With Britney, everybody expects there’s going to be some kind of car crash with her. But it’s not. She’s very switched on, very focused. … She has good taste and from working with her you can understand why she’s lasted so long in the industry.
‘She totally understands the music business and understands the difference between a good singer and a potential star.’
It will have more of a reality show element, with lots of behind the scenes action, and later more focus on the judges and the mentoring process of the aspiring stars.
‘You have got to make a different show to everybody else, otherwise they all blur into one,’ Cowell said.
‘There is a lot more reality than we have ever shown before. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to be on one of these shows, this show is a real glimpse of how stressful it is for the contestants,’ he said.
Season 2 of the show premieres on Wednesday, September 12.