September 12, 2012
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TV Show: X Factor, The

Britney Spears, Demi Lovato revive ‘X Factor’
By Lindsey Ward, QMI Agency


The X Factor judges (L-R) L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and Simon Cowell pose at the premiere of Fox's "The X Factor" Season 2 and handprint ceremony at the Chinese Theatre on September 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevin Winter/AFP)


There was a time when Simon Cowell knew what the kids these days were into.

But now, the 52-year-old British talent scout has to check with the kids first.

At least that seemed to be the case on Wednesday's season two premiere of The X Factor (Fox, CTV), where Cowell sat back and let his new panelists, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, do most of the judging. Oh yeah, and L.A. Reid was there too.

Frankly, it could have been a lot worse (see The X Factor Season 1, featuring Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger as the least insightful judges ever).

While pop star Spears, 30, and 20-year-old singer Lovato aren't the brainiacs in the bunch — and really, who needs them with Papa Cowell and Uncle Reid around? — they bring colour and, like, totally new life to a show that was basically DOA when it hit airwaves last fall (high ratings aside, Season 1 was a buzz-less bore).

Will BritBrit and Demi make former American Idol alum Cowell's “new show” as big as his old one — or as trendy as competitor The Voice? We'll see.

For now, The X Factor's second go-round is off to a steady start thanks to its hip new judges and a handful of talented singers from Wednesday's auditions in Austin, San Francisco and Providence.

I mean, apparently they've already found the next Rihanna in single mom Paige Thomas, the next Justin Bieber in 13-year-old Reed Deming and the next Pat Benatar in sassy-demure Jennel Garcia.

Oh yeah, and the next Lady Gaga in Quatrele Da'an Smith — a drag queen bride-to-be whom Lovato couldn't get enough of: “Oh my gawd, I love you,” she said after Smith's rendition of Born This Way. “And I love your lipstick colour!”

While he would have scoffed had Smith ever stepped foot on Idol, Cowell agreed with his hip, young co-panelist.

“OK, if you imagine Madonna, Bobby Brown and Dracula had a child, it would be you. But in a weird way, I quite liked you,” he snickered before sending Smith on to the next round.

Seriously? Well, we can definitely see who's calling the shots this season.

While lovable Lovato seems to find the good in everyone (including cute boy group Emblem3, whose track Sunset Boulevard is this season's answer to last season's Young Homie), at least we can rely on BritBrit to tell it like it is.

Even in a sheer-at-the-boobs mini-dress and with crimpy Drive Me Crazy-era locks, Spears' X Factor debut marked her most distinguished public appearance since the head-shaving incident. The notorious lip-syncher told countless wannabes they were off-key, shut down her former duet partner Don Philip and proved to be a quote machine. (See Random Britney quotes from Wednesday's X Factor.) She was rather charming, really.

Lovato clearly has less of a presence, but makes the most of her screen time by playing the giddy teenage daughter to Cowell's stern dad. She also relates to the contestants that might actually get their 15 minutes out of this whole ridiculous process. Case in point: Raspy-voiced Jillian Jensen, who, like Lovato, has been a victim of bullying for much of her teenage life.

“I can't wait for the bullies at home to see this,” Lovato said through tears after Jensen's emotional audition.

Charming times two.

Cowell might not know what the kids these days are into anymore. But he sure knows who to ask.

Oh, Britney

Eight random Spears quotes from Wednesday's season two premiere of The X Factor.

“I'm so excited but I'm going to have to beat up Simon a couple of times.”

“Holy cow yes.”

“I wanna know who let you onstage. I feel uncomfortable with you even staring at me.”

“I felt like I was listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

“It's like Vanilla Ice meets Lauryn Hill meets West Side Story.”

“You need new teacher to teach you how to sing.”

“What are you wearing? I feel like it's gonna knock you out.”

“I really didn't get it.”

Recap of @lindsward's tweets during the show




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