Britney Spears X-Factor: Booze Ban, Toughness, Charm Might Improve Ratings; Can She Bring Success?
Britney Spears was put on "X Factor" to bring it back to its glory days, but is she really helping the show?
Wednesday was the pop singer's debut as a judge on season 2 of FOX's "X Factor," along with 20-year-old Demi Lovato.
According to People magazine, Simon Cowell, who suffered a ratings disappointment with season 1, let Spears dominate the two hours.
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People said that Spears had a lot of charm in her expressive mouth and eyes that easily convey whatever emotion the moment requires. She has simple, undeniable physicality.
What about her ability to give good criticism?
People magazine thinks she showed her seriousness:
Her very first critique - of singer Paige Thomas: "You were so bright and beautiful on stage, and you exude so much confidence - you're flawless." This was disappointingly generic, but then again it would have been offputting if she'd said something Tylerian along the lines of, "Whoa-dingee-doodle, bring me a dog and I'll show you a poodle." She was signaling to us her seriousness and her integrity.
She made a lot of straight-to-the-point comments.
One talent, who auditioned, Sean Armenta, a 50-year-old airline worker, got a huge bad rating for Spears.
"I want to know who let you on stage," Spears said, according to the New York Daily News.
"I felt like I was listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks," she told one contestant.
According to Reuters, Billboard.com's Marc Schneider said the "Toxic" singer "cast off her vacant-eyed reputation and showed herself to be a pro at delivering the kind of deliberate, tough-to-swallow feedback that often goes unsaid during these kinds of reality competitions."
Reuters also said that he 30-year-old pop star who is reportedly being paid around $15 million a year, impressed critics and fans with cutting remarks and a no-nonsense dismissal of bad contestants vying for a $5 million prize and recording contract.
However, the "X Factor" still drew a smaller audience than last year and getting drowned out by "The Voice" and "America's Got Talent."
According to early Nielsen data, some 11 million tuned into the finale of "America's Got Talent" on NBC and 10.7 million watched a third episode this week of "The Voice", also on NBC, with celebrity music judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.
The competition was tougher in the 18-49 age group most prized by advertisers, with "X Factor" edging out a narrow win against "The Voice." NBC emerged as the most-watched U.S. network of Wednesday night and Fox was the overall winner in the 18-49 demographic.
Despite the slump in viewers, Reuters reported that Spears and former Disney Channel star Lovato were a hit on social media. Social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs said "X Factor" triggered about 1.4 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms on Wednesday, making it the most social season TV premiere of all time.
Lovato proved every bit Spears' equal in the popularity stakes, shedding tears over the tale of a 19-year-old contestant who broke down on stage when recalling how she, like Lovato, had been bullied at school.
Who knows. Maybe Spears' booze ban will help ratings.
According to the Examiner, Spears banned alcohol anywhere near the set or hotel during travel auditions. Her booze ban came in the form of a note from her handlers. The rider on the contract to the hotel hosting "X Factor" auditions read:
"Very important: We require you to empty the minibars of all alcohol. And no gifts of wine or any other alcoholic beverages, please."
Also, it is reported that Spears didn't allow any pretty woman in as well.
Sources claim the judge has a thing against "pretty women" and they too are banned. One insider said, ''Britney has stipulated that none of the backstage staff working with her are too pretty or stylish," according to the Examiner.
Through all this, Spears is likely to come out on top, helping the show anyway she can.
According to AZCentral, Spears was at first nervous but she is having a great time on the program, even though she did want to quit after shooting the first episode.
''I was really nervous," she said. "You have all these people behind you and you know they're rooting on you. It's a really exciting, electrifying thing to do."