September 11, 2012
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TV Show: X Factor, The

Will Lovato outshine Spears on 'X Factor'?
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Britney Spears and Demi Lovato (Reuters files)

Maybe we should be cutting all the Britney Spears attention in half and focusing on Demi Lovato.

With The X Factor returning for its second season Wednesday on Fox and CTV, there has been non-stop talk about the addition of Spears. A lot of that talk has come from her fellow judge, Simon Cowell.

Britney's meaner than you'd think, Cowell has repeated. He claims the public doesn't know the real Britney. He says Britney has taken this job really seriously and there have been reports of her having panic attacks and storming off the set.

But I can say this much: In the sizzle reels I've seen, it's the other new judge, Lovato, who's the sparkplug for this new version of The X Factor.

Lovato and Cowell are the ones who push each other's buttons. And remembering that Spears is 30 and Lovato is 20, it's Lovato who's closest in age to many of the contestants traipsing across the stage, not to mention the majority of audience members.

There's a fun moment when Lovato and a trio of young singers trade flirty compliments.

"No, no, no, no," says Cowell, comedically scolding Lovato. "Barrier."

Lovato shoots right back, "Thanks, Dad," and subsequently tells Cowell, "You need to take a breath mint if you're going to get that close to my face."

Cowell often has referred to Lovato as a "brat," but he truly means it as a compliment. And maybe a brat is what The X Factor needs to separate it from the gluey glut of reality competition shows.

Lovato has been acting and singing, professionally and successfully, since age 7. But she has admitted she was bullied so badly as a youngster that she developed an eating disorder.

She since has become an anti-bullying activist, and was asked in a conference call with reporters last week how her personal history informs the way she deals with contestants on The X Factor.

"I think bullying is something that's totally different than criticism," Lovato said. "Bullying, I think, can be when you're just harsh, really for no reason. I feel when you're giving criticism, you're only trying to help somebody with their performance or their voice or whatever.

"(Being a judge on The X Factor) is everything I thought it would be and more. I always thought it would be so much fun and difficult. But at the same time, you're in a position that you're mentoring people. You're trying to give them the best advice possible so they can be groomed into this pop star that you know they can be."

Twice during the conference call, Lovato used the term "funner" in a sentence. And not in an ironic way. How can you not love that?

The X Factor needs to be a different show this year. And it's going to be, not only because of Britney Spears, but perhaps primarily because of Demi Lovato.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca




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