Britney Spears tweets a photo of herself with Demi Lovato and the other "X Factor" judges [source: WhoSay]
Yes, following the very polarizing announcement that former "Mickey Mouse Club" tween star Britney Spears has been hired as an "X Factor" judge, it's now official that a Disney starlet who followed in Britney's wake, Demi, has also joined Simon Cowell's cast. (Another Disney princess, Miley Cyrus, was reportedly also in the running for the job--but according to Deadline, Miley turned it down.) Although Demi is an undeniably better singer than Britney, her credibility is still in some doubt here.
First of all, she's only 19 years old, and her debut album only came out four years ago--so she isn't exactly a showbiz veteran with the qualifications to be a mentor. At least Britney has been in the business for almost 20 years and has an impressively long string of hit singles to her credit. Demi, on the other hand, has only scored one top 10 hit (the one L.A. Reid mistook as a song for "40-year-olds"). So it's a little bizarre to me that, after reportedly pursuing icons like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, and even the late Whitney Houston for this job, Simon would hire someone so young and relatively inexperienced.
It's possible that, like Britney, as a former teen star, Demi will have a few good words of advice for the show's kiddie contestants. ("The X Factor" skews as young as 12 years old.) But what if she ends up mentoring the "Over-30's" category? Last year, the show had contenders who were 42 and even 60 years old. Do you think they would have wanted to be mentored by someone only a few years older than Astro and Rachel Crow? Such a development could make for some very funny trainwreck TV in Season 2, sure...but I bet the older contestants wouldn't be laughing much.
Additionally, as might be the case with Britney, Demi's emotional and mental stability could be an issue here. While she seems to have admirably conquered her demons, it wasn't long ago that she went to rehab for issues having to do with drug use, bulimia, and self-harm. It's possible that that life experience has made her wise beyond her years, and it's definitely made her a role model for young people going through the same sort of hell...but perhaps this is not the time for her to jump into the massive pressure-cooker that is a multimillion-dollar live TV show helmed by alpha-males like Simon and L.A. But then again, Demi has clearly been through worse ordeals than dealing with a cranky Cowell...so maybe she will be able to handle this.
Personally, I would prefer Britney, who will likely settle into the show's "wacky judge" role recently vacated by Paula Abdul, to have a foil in the form of a more serious female counterpart: a behind-the-scenes Kara DioGuardi type, or a truly seasoned singer like Stevie Nicks or Cher. But still, I'm kind of rooting for Demi, not only because this could be a major career comeback for her, but because I'm hoping she can put that know-it-all L.A. Reid in his place.
Britney Spears and Demi Lovato appeared at Fox's Upfronts presentation in New York on Monday afternoon, alongside Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid. Both Britney and Simon tweeted a photo of the new judges' lineup, with Simon saying, "Can't believe it's finally happened. Very exciting! @thexfactorusa #xfactor #SimonBritneyDemiLa." I bet some other "X Factor" fans can't believe it either...
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