By Ross Fingland
Everyone’s favourite Toxic schoolgirl Britney Spears is back with a vengeance as the latest judge on The X Factor USA. Britney returns to the spotlight as she joins fellow newcomer Demi Lovato, as well as old faces L.A Reid and series creator Simon Cowell, at the judges table.
For some this is merely yet another attempt at a comeback for the singer, who had one of the most public mental breakdowns in recent history back in 2007, which saw her lose her children, her hair and her dignity as she was held in hospital under a 5150 order- an order which stated she was considered a threat to herself and others.
Since then, of course, she has released two chart-topping albums, won a handful of awards, embarked upon two world tours and got engaged to boyfriend Jason Trawick.
For the singer’s many fans her gig on The X Factor is just an extension of how well Spears, who turns thirty-one in December, appears to be doing in her professional life. With increased media attention, including magazine covers and chat show interviews with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon, she really does seem to be back on top and better than ever, enjoying a positive resurgence in her status for once.
However, Britney is never without her critics. Questions had been raised about Spears’ judging abilities, with some berating her as she isn’t exactly known for her live vocal abilities; others believed she would come across as a wooden, uncharismatic and overly nice judge similar to Paula Abdul.
Thankfully, when The X Factor USA debuted in September, she was anything but. “She has amazing taste,” said fellow judge LA Reid, in a behind the scenes interview. The former Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell, nicknamed her “The Queen of Mean.” From the very first episode it’s clear that Britney knows exactly what she wants, and won’t beat around the bush to get it.
It is hoped that Spears and Lovato will provoke a much-needed turn in fortune for the show’s ratings, after the axing of series one judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger- who is currently the newest judge on The X Factor UK– as well as British host Steve Jones.
For fans the world over there is a collective sigh of relief that, for once, their idol is being applauded for doing something she is good at. Funny, sharp-tounged and not afraid to speak her mind, it’s clear that Britney and The X Factor are a match made in television heaven. For anyone who has ever doubted the power that this woman wields within the fame game, an incredible fourteen years since she debuted on the world’s stage in pigtails, be prepared to be shocked by the new Britney Spears. She’s taking no prisoners.
You can catch Britney on The X Factor USA, every Thursday and Friday at 8pm on ITV2