So after three cities on The X Factor‘s nationwide audition tour, how is Britney Spears doing as a judge of eager singing talent?
Sources say the pop princess was a bit shy at first, but has since become downright “blunt” in her assessment of contestants. “Everyone was kinda shocked at how tough she was and how she wasn’t scared to say it straight,” a source says from the set.
So far Spears has tended to prefer “exciting” contestants who are visually appealing and charismatic performers rather than those who simply possess a fine voice. “She knows it takes more than having a good singing voice and that you have to be entertaining and have that ‘wow’ factor,” the source says. “She can really tell the difference between a good singer and a great performer.”
Spears’ favorite rejection? “Too boring.”
The new judge also isn’t swayed by heartfelt appeals. “The judges always ask [contestants] a few questions before they sing and Britney makes it clear that she isn’t interested in sob stories or people who try to get a sympathy vote,” the source says. “She’s always compassionate and understanding but she is always totally focused on their performance and talent.”
Here are some of Spears’ reactions to contestants from The X Factor set:
— “I thought it was magnificento!”
— “Who let you on the stage?”
— “I feel like you need to go to New York and be on Broadway. I don’t think the pop industry could handle you.”
— “I’m sorry, I was bored. I have to say no.”
— “Holy cow! I can’t believe that voice came from that tiny body.”
— “To make a great performance, you have to step it up. There’s a big wall between us, and you need to learn to break it down.”
— “I can’t look. I literally can’t look.” (During one male contestant’s raunchy dance.)
— “I’m sorry, sweetie, but you have to be great to be on this show.”
Backstage, all four judges share the same green room, plus have private meeting rooms of their own. Spears is said to be socializing with the crew and other judges between takes rather than being standoffish.
Fellow pop singer and new Factor judge Demi Lovato has been described as more chatty on the panel, with head judge Simon Cowell said to be “over the moon” pleased with both hires. X Factor premieres on Fox Sept. 12. Let’s hope the honeymoon survives next season!
For more updates on Britney Spears’ X Factor judging so far, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly.