On the O.G. British version of the Simon Cowell-helmed talent-search glitter explosion that spawned One Direction, the judging panel includes a couple of major ‘90s pop veterans, including Take That (Robbie Williams’ boy band for those who spent those years outside of the UK or under a rock) frontman Gary Barlow and, up until recently, Girls Aloud member-turned-high-powered-WAG Cheryl Cole. The American version of the show, about to start its second season, will be taking the same route in enlisting former ‘90s tween/teen idols, when Britney Spears joins the panel next season on a $15 million deal, MTV reports.
Spears joins producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul. Fans and industry folks are watching her move to the show carefully, considering she’s been spending so little time in the public eye since her last album. Is this a Britney Spears comeback? Is this all part of a larger and perhaps diabolical plan? As Spears super-fan Jordan Miller points out to MTV, her public image has been so heavily monitored in the wake of her 2007 breakdown that the opportunity to go unscripted in front of a wide audience is actually a huge deal for her, and, for what it’s worth, an opportunity for her to show audiences what she’s capable of when going off-book. And hey, for a fledgling pop star who could barely string a sentence together when “Baby… One More Time” was released, getting a thumbs-up from B. Spears could be a huge vote of confidence.
Season 2 of The X-Factor will premiere at the end of September 2012.