New Britneyology

Debate No.21: Britney and the X Factor!

Posted by: Karenannanina on: March 10, 2012

Source after source is reporting that Britney is close to signing up as one of the judges on the next season of  The X Factor. It’s said that the only sticking point is the money. It certainly looks like she has time to do one term on the show, and it would be convenient for her to do something that’s based in LA.

However, the Britney forums have been split over the question of whether it would be a good move for her (nobody’s all that worried about how good it might be for the show).  They say it’s a gig for has-beens, that she’s too big for this, that she won’t come over well, that she’ll say the same thing to everybody (“That was cool! You’re awesome!”), that Simon Cowell will make a fool out of her (and maybe the spectacle of seeing him do that would be the biggest attraction for viewers) and so on and so on.

On the other hand, it could give her a chance to come out of her shell and regain her confidence in speaking in public (since she wouldn’t be talking about herself – something she seemingly hates), and it would connect her in a big way with a much wider public than her loyal stanbase, spruce up her image, and show how adorable she is.

MTV has provided us with a rather-less-than-insightful analysis. On the “pro” side, they say she would definitely attract some of those missing viewers that the show needs. “The poor ratings precipitated the overhaul that saw judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones fired from the show. There’s no question that Spears would bring viewers to “The X Factor.” She enjoys a large and devout fanbase who will basically follow her just about anywhere. And beyond her own fans, Spears’ celebrity would also likely draw attention from the general public, who will tune in simply to see how she does.”

Also, she’d be a contemporary artist, currently enjoying a lot of career success. ” We don’t mean to slight Abdul or Scherzinger, but you could argue that a legacy singer who hasn’t released an album in over 17 years and a performer who has had a difficult time getting her own solo singing career off the ground aren’t the best judges of who does and does not have “The X Factor.” On the other hand, Spears may be. Last year’s Femme Fatale gave Spears three top-10 singles — the most of any of her seven albums — and earned some of the best reviews of her career. While it’s true that she did not write or produce much of the record, she was most certainly involved in picking her collaborators, which actually could speak well of her ability to know talent when she sees it. When it comes to the contemporary pop music scene, Spears knows what works.”

On the “con” side, MTV refers to her awkwardness and nervousness in interviews. But as I said, this would be something completely different from being put on the spot to talk about herself. And she lights up when asked about the music she loves. But it’s a valid point that she might not be a good person to deliver bad news.  “It’s worth noting that a high-drama situation arose on the first season of “The X Factor” — one that left contestant Rachel Crowe sobbing onstage and Scherzinger a wreck … a wreck who received death threats. Producers should also consider whether it’s wise to send Spears, who has dealt with emotional issues in the past, into a genre that thrives when the emotional stakes are high.”

And there’s the inevitable objection that Britney wouldn’t have the high-level, detailed knowledge of vocal technique necessary for judging and mentoring “a singing competition”. “When Aguilera critiques a performer’s vocals, she speaks with authority — and her ear for singing proved to make her the most discerning judge on the “Voice” panel during the blind auditions. Spears’ judging style will likely be based on liking what’s already there, but she’s not going to have much insight on missed notes or pitch, which will cripple her ability to further mentor her team. How can she help them improve as vocalists when it’s a truth universally acknowledged that she’s not really a vocalist herself?”

But this objection is based on three misconceptions.  One is that saying “she’s not really a vocalist” is to contradict what a whole industry-full of producers have said.  MTV mentions elsewhere how good J.Lo is at breaking bad news but they forget that she is a lot less highly regarded as a vocalist than Britney!  The second misconception is that all good singing is belting.  Britney’s fans believe she knows a lot more about interpretation and empathy than Aguilera.  A third misconception is that, even if we grant that Britney isn’t a great singer in technical terms, that would mean she doesn’t know anything about singing.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, all that time spent  in Performing Arts school and the MMC?  Hello?!

One crucial mistake the MTV pro-and-con makes is in calling  The X Factor “a singing competition”.  It is NOT a singing competition. This point came up again and again on the UK show.  The clue is in the title – it’s a competition to find an artist who has that special unique, indescribable “something”, namely “the X Factor”.  Nobody knows what it is. If it was merely the ability to sing Beyonce hits loud and in tune, there wouldn’t be much of a mystery.  It’s the fact that so many winners of talent shows have singing ability but do NOT have the X Factor that assures them of a rapid slide to oblivion.  It turns out that good singers are ten-a-penny.

When Simon Cowell was asked, a couple of series ago, to give an example of someone who had the X Factor, he immediately said “Britney Spears”.  She may (or may not) be known as a great singer, but she sure as hell has the X Factor and that’s what the show was set up to find.  In fact, if they could find someone who had the magic to be a huge star WITHOUT being a great singer, that would be closer to what the show set out to achieve – even if, every year, yet another firestorm of belting makes some of the judges (with Simon as the exception) forget their mission.

What do you think? Good or bad for Britney? Good or bad for The X Factor?



18 Responses to "Debate No.21: Britney and the X Factor!"

I’m one of the fans against it, simply cuz i don’t watch any of these dumb ass reality talent shows and i’m not trying to start, but putting my obviously selfish reasons aside, lol

I think whether this could be a good or bad thing relies solely on how Britney will be!!

If she’s gonna be full of personality and offer real opinions, not just cool or you were awesome, then i think it would be good, plus it could help to get her more comfy in televised appearances and show those people who are still stuck in 2007 that she’s got hair again and not crazy!!

But, if she’s gonna be shy and awkward and only use that cool/awesome answers that would just cause nothing but damage!! Plus with it being a live show, what if something happens that triggers her anxiety, that body language can be easily noticed!!

Now like i said, i don’t watch these stupid shows so i have no clue what the contestants are like, but what if there is this one douchebag who she negatively critiques and they throw insults at her, like about the lipping and the fact that she don’t dance like she used to, i’ve seen that other fans are concerned about that possibility to and it’s a good one to be concerned about!!

I usually trust my gut instinct with things I can’t quite figure out and with this, I feel nothing good will come of it. It’s late so I’m gonna dot point my reasons.

* Her mystique – Maybe this is a selfish one on my part, I don’t know. But I don’t want to see her on TV week after week. I like to wait for albums till I’m bursting with excitement. I liked what she did with her career the last three years – she’s still very much a powerful figure but she’s not everywhere all at once like Rihanna or Gaga. I like having things to myself and I don’t really want to see her become “public property” again. I just feel as though this isn’t good enough for her. I wouldn’t be remotely excited about it because she’s not performing, the focus won’t be on her and, I don’t know, it’s not a creative or interesting decision by any means, it’s, as you noted, all about the money and publicity, apparently. She’s literally getting paid to sit in a chair and talk. I’m sorry but this has got to be her most uninspired and boring career move, if it’s true. She’s so much more than this.

* Her creative ventures prior to this – we know she’s held some dance classes for children in the past, has said she’d love to work more with kids, talked about fashion ventures, obviously has her perfume empire (so she could’ve gone into makeup or similar) – so why not something customised around all of these interests? I’ve never heard of her watching or enjoying these Idol type shows. Obviously, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like them but I’d much rather see her doing something she’s hinted at in the past. I just feel this is a cash in while she’s not working on an album. If she were with anyone but Jive, I’d suggest creating her own record label but that’ll never happen. Better yet, why couldn’t she have her own show centered around different, less conventional styles of singing? She could be a pioneer for her own style of singing becoming more known and acknowledged. See, just me sitting here at my computer, I can come up with a number of things I’m pretty certain she would enjoy doing that would still bring in the cash without making her look both desperate and money hungry, while also taking *her* interests into account.

* Not sure if I’ve said this before on here but I’m honestly really scared for how she’ll be treated. Hopefully, her people are smart enough to tell the judges/audience to be respectful but who knows what could happen? If they have to tell someone auditioning that they suck, what if they turn around and call her out on her lip syncing or, worse, say something about 2007? Sorry, but I get quite angry when I think about fans screaming about what an awesome idea this is when plenty of contestants have verbally attacked all of the judges before. Why does that sound like something any of us want to potentially send Britney into? I realise it was a while ago but her reaction to that fan jumping on stage during Circus Tour wasn’t normal at all. I don’t think I want to find out what might happen if a contestant or judge shits on her. Hasn’t she been through enough?

* The generic aspect – We always praised Britney for her originality, her bringing new producers into the mainstream and her unique taste for unusual sounds. Whether you love or hate Femme Fatale, you can’t deny it’s not really a trendsetter or anything particularly new in the way Slave was back in 2001 or Toxic in 2004 or even Womanizer in 2008. It’s a checklist of today’s producers, acts, sounds. It’s a solid album but it’s also by the numbers. I do not want this becoming the norm for her. Even Circus still had it’s weird and wonderful moments both musically and visually. I don’t think I could’ve been more bored with the images FF produced (save for the V photoshoot). Despite her never doing something like X Factor before, the phrase “nothing new” keeps repeating in my mind – she’s quite literally following a trend here. She’s not the first to do it, not even the 50th. I don’t like the idea of a pop icon doing what everyone else is doing. Fine, maybe she needed to sound “now” with FF to further cement her comeback to music but this? It just seems so uninspired. That’s what it keeps coming back to for me: A decision decided entirely by the size of the pay cheque. Zzzzz.

* Finally, what’s the point? – 99% of the time, the acts including the winner, go nowhere. For every Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, there’s a whole bunch who are promised the world and get nothing. Even Leona Lewis hasn’t really been able to surpass Bleeding Love after all this time.

At this point, reality TV is burned out, most people despise it and deliberately avoid it. Idol is hated worldwide, and most of these shows are viewed very similar. Yes, they pull in large crowds but once it’s all over it just starts up again exactly the same as before. There’s a poll on a popular website right now asking if Britney will be a good judge. The “No” option is as follows: “No, I *still* wouldn’t watch”. Get that? As in, this website knows the majority of the general public isn’t even that interested in this show in the first place.

If they’re that desperate to get her on TV, I’d rather she finished up her character on How I Met Your Mother since the show is enjoying one of its best seasons, and ratings, ever. Plus, there’s a perfect storyline for a potential return for her. At least she’d get a chance to actually do something and have fun. X Factor looks like no fun to me.

Completely agree with everything you said!! Firstly, the exposure, the way she’s doing things now is enough, she’s still out there but not overdoing it…she’s actually able to have Britney time like spending time with her boys and being with Jason, not just be in pop star mode all the time and something tells me she must enjoy having that balance!! Plus, it seems like a lot of fans want her to be like she’s a new artist again, but she’s not, there’s no need for her to be everywhere and do everything, she’s already an established artist!! In my opinion, those are the fans that don’t give a shit about Britney the person!!

Then the creative ventures, she has actually said in interviews that she don’t think she’d make a good judge cuz she wouldn’t be able to negatively critique someone, so if she herself don’t think she’d be all that good at it, then what’s the point?? If she wants to be on tv, i say stick with her strengths and that’s comedic sitcoms, she’s like a natural at that, she’s great. I know i’d love to see her on Modern Family and she even recently said she loves the show, so an appearance on that would actually make sense!!

Then of course, there’s the hate she can get, i’d hate to see someone just shit all over her!!

X Factor would be a DREADFUL MISTAKE.

What do you people think a STAR means?

A star belongs UP THERE… not DOWN HERE.

She thrives in the realm of fantasy, as ‘Britney’ the glorious illusion… but when she tries to be that down here with us, with a camera in her face, she is NEVER in the zone. She’s a scared rabbit in the headlights. The Dateline interview, chewing gum defending her mothering skills springs to mind “Accidents happen – we’re country!”

It is an act of abuse to take advantage of Britney as anything EXCEPT a stage performer.
All the ordinary unremarkable quirks that we love about her (“Really really cool” etc) will be used against her in the worst possible way.

She is not the type of person who issues a slick one liner or has dry wit. Britney’s genius is on the stage, but certainly not as a television personality.

I just think this will take away even more from where she IS at home, what brings out the best in her.

Britney wasn’t meant to communicate with the world through banter and mundane corversation but through songs and performance.

I’m sorry, but we have to brace ourselves for the most intense criticism imaginable, should she sign up for that awful mince meat talent show.

Did you read the other replies? There’s no reason to talk as if you have to convince CSK81 and Michelle of anything. They seem as opposed to it as you are.

I am so relieved about that. God, Britney, please don’t let them do this to you.

Karen, I must apologise – when I wrote “You people” i meant to write “people”. I wasn’t addressing these two wonderfully intelligent posters, just the populace at large who want any Britney they can get, just so they can pass judgement on her.

CSk81 and Michelle pretty much sum up my own thoughts. I agree that it would be a good way to update the general public of what she is like today, place a fresh image in their minds to replace the 5-6 yr old image they are still holding of her. However, there are better ways to do that through television than the X Factor. I would much rather see her pioneer her own creative venture as Michelle said, or to simply appear on Ellen or something if it’s simply about publicity.

My greatest concern is the backlash she might get from the general public/contestants. I’m nervous this might actually be happening because of the mention of media training. I bet if it were for anything it would be to prepare for issues like these.

However, my instincts are telling me she won’t do it. She has said on record so many times how she doesn’t put herself in positions to be ridiculed, and how she only takes one day at a time, she has nothing to prove etc. etc.. They’ve always sounded like mantras of someone struggling with severe anxiety to me. She spent most of her late adolescence and twenties being the main subject of public forum in pop culture. I think it’s something she absolutely does not concern herself with anymore for the sake of her own personal growth and well-being. So to me it seems completely outrageous to think she might consider taking a job that would insert her in to one of biggest public forums in pop/entertainment right now–reality television.

I don’t know…also, not for nothing, Janet turned it down too. She has stated scheduling conflicts, but it would not surprise me one bit if she and Britney had very similar reasons for not partaking.

I feel like a lot of the X Factor contestants are usually from deprived backgrounds and have attitude problems. It’s a melting pot for hysteria and violent emotions.

For Britney’s own mental health, I cannot believe her people would sanction her being witness to that human carnival of degradation.

Oh my god, I’ve had a phenomenal idea.

You know Britney said she’d be a teacher if she wasn’t a performer? How about a show where Britney is an art critic?

Do you remember that incredible moment in the otherwise harrowing Chaotic, where Britney did a spontaneous analysis of that painting in her hotel room.
The imagery of that painting “The lady on top of the world”, protecting by her ‘fairie’ against falling in love with a mortal who will put an arrow through her heart…. that imagery found itself brought to life in the Hold It Against Me video, be that her own intention or just a happy accident.

Britney’s own creativity at work – just like the Baby One More Time concept.

What I’m getting at is, Britney is an intensely intuitive and refreshing woman and I would love her to do a culture show where she brings her own non-academic approach to fine art, literature or dance… because she has a propensity for it.

I’d love to see her do something that would show her creativity and energy, but there would be a high risk of derision (even if undeserved) if she ventures into the fine arts. Don’t you think so?

I think there are too many music-related shows on the air. I could do without AI, the Voice, and X-factor, and for non-reality shows, Glee and Smash. However… IF Britney was to do X-factor I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t watch, because I know I would.

For the sake of argument, there are some advantages to doing XF. First, Brit always wanted to be closer to her fans, and this will be one way to accomplish that. Two, fans are always complaining about her lack of promotion. Brit could easily promote her songs through the show. Maybe we’d get some performances. Three, as someone who suffers from social anxiety, I can tell you that putting herself out there could help build her confidence around people and get her to feel more comfortable expressing herself verbally. That way you won’t get the “cool” and other one word mentions as often.

As a side note, when I heard rumors that Jason was taking the lead on negotiations, my first thought was, “What exactly is Adam’s purpose?”Lol.

I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention that I thought the whole hoppla over the salary fight disingenous. Brit isn’t the type to haggle over money. If she wants to do it she will…if she doesn’t, she won’t no matter how much money is on the table. I do think that she and her team can’t dismiss one part without addressing the rest of the rumors…so they nothing about everything… Does anyone know when the final decision will be made? The rumors are driving me insane…..:)

I also thought the money-haggling rumors sounded highly unlikely, and I doubt that they came from a reputable source!

One crumb of comfort for those who think it’s a very bad idea is that Britney could probably only do the show for one season, so she wouldn’t be excessively identified with it. If the season was a success, she could look like the main reason. If it was a flop, she’d be walking away anyway, and couldn’t be “axed”.

“When Aguilera critiques a performer’s vocals, she speaks with authority — and her ear for singing proved to make her the most discerning judge on the “Voice” panel during the blind auditions. Spears’ judging style will likely be based on liking what’s already there, but she’s not going to have much insight on missed notes or pitch, which will cripple her ability to further mentor her team. How can she help them improve as vocalists when it’s a truth universally acknowledged that she’s not really a vocalist herself?”

Insert me laughing my ass off here, bitch don’t no crap about music, YMMV.

I don’t really care, it could help her be known and kept in the media over her dubious “Break” where she does five other things and records the new album perfectly and just does her job like she wants too…

On X Factor — it will only be her shadow. Never herself.

How will we tell if she means what she says – she’ll say it so loud, but sound far away.
Maybe we’ll have just a glimpse of her soul.

Her laughter, it lingers on. But she’ll be almost gone.

Well, I think we’re hoping that wouldn’t be the case, and that the media training she’s allegedly having will give her a kind of performing plateau of general competence to work from.

Comments are closed.

  • Karenannanina: I agree with you about the residency. It's the road to irrelevance for an artist. But a new album would be a golden blessing for her fans. Her albums
  • George: Spot on thoughts on the issue. Honestly, I don't... really care whether she does the residency or not? As long as there is new music, I'm fine. P.S: G
  • Sarah G: You should write an In-Depth of Glory or even Mood Ring (that's a groovy tune)