Following months of speculation, Fox has finally announced that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will be judging the second season of Simon Cowell’s singing competition show, “X Factor.” Both pop stars appeared at Fox’s Upfronts presentation in New York on Monday (May 14) for the big reveal.
“I am so excited about this whole experience. It’s gonna be so much fun and so different from anything I’ve ever done,” Spears, clad in a body-hugging eggshell-white dress, said from the stage halfway through Fox’s annual presentation to advertisers. “I’m ready to find the true star.”
“Well we delivered,” Cowell said as soon as the new cast hit the stage. “Rumors are one thing, but delivery is something else.”
Lovato was equally enthused about the new gig. “I am totally stoked to be here because of not only the opportunity to be a judge here but the presence of you guys is just an honor to be standing next to you.”
Perhaps most excited of all was returning judge L.A. Reid, who exclaimed, “I’m the luckiest guy in the planet, standing next to these three. This is the Rolls Royce of television right here.”
The debut season of “X Factor” ended with major shake-ups, with two of the four judges — Nicole Scherzinger, who reportedly pulled in $1.5 million and Paula Abdul, who netted $2.5 million — leaving the show. It was reported a few weeks ago that Spears had nabbed a $15 million contract for the show, but the exact amount has not been confirmed.
Cowell closed his remarks with a warning to his forthcoming fall competitor, NBC’s “The Voice.” “This year, we are going to seriously kick butt,” he said. “We’re thrilled ‘The Voice’ has decided to compete with us and I wish them the most sincere luck. But second’s not great.”
Britney Spears has had seven No. 1s on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart and five toppers on the Billboard Hot 100. Her No. 1s on the Hot 100 include her debut single “Baby One More Time,” “Womanizer,” “3” and her “S&M” collaboration with Rihanna. Spears has notched six No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, including her most recent release, last year’s “Femme Fatale.” The pop/dance diva has sold 33 million albums in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan, and in terms of download song sales, she has moved 29 million tracks in the U.S.
Demi Lovato has tallied 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with four of them reaching the top 40: “This Is Me” (with Joe Jonas), “Here We Go Again,” the “Send It On” all-star charity single and 2011’s “Skyscraper.” The latter was the lead single from her “Unbroken” album, which debuted and peaked at No. 4 — her third of three top five albums on the Billboard 200. 2009’s “Here We Go Again” hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her total U.S. album sales stand at 1.3 million, while her digital song sales total 9 million.
The two pop stars will be asked to not only judge contestants on the reality show, but also to mentor a group of performers. The “X Factor” contestants are, if season two follows the same format as season one, divided into Girls, Boys, Over-30s and Groups, and then assigned a mentor/judge to guide them through the rounds of competition.
Earlier this year, rumors of Mariah Carey and Beyonce joining the panel circulated, but were quickly shot down by Cowell himself. Miley Cyrus and Avril Lavigne were also reportedly under consideration for the gig. “X Factor” is still in need of a host to replace ousted British TV personality Steve Jones.