Can she hit that, baby, one more time?
Stardom, that is.
Britney Spears' latest attempt to snag the spotlight is heralded by the return of Fox's "The X Factor" (tonight at 8 on WFXT, Ch. 25).
If you believe Simon Cowell, she's the meanest judge with whom he's ever shared a table.
He should know.
But is that any way for a pop princess to reclaim her throne?
Fox declined to release a review copy of the taped two-hour premiere airing tonight, but it did cut an 11-minute "presentation" reel.
The new judge, earning $15 million a season, wears a pained expression even when she's listening to someone she allegedly likes.
Some sample burns:
"You can't destroy that song, sweetie."
"Bad to the bone."
"Very predictable," and predictable is enunciated as if it were three distinct words.
"In the past, we've had judges that never say, 'No,'" Cowell told reporters last week. "(But) she can't say no quick enough on this show. She's quite difficult to please."
She, along with new judge Demi Lovato (the two replace Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger) and returnees L.A. Reid and Cowell will have to be especially discerning in drafting talent if they are to dent "The Voice's" momentum this season.
NBC last week decided to schedule a Wednesday edition of "The Voice" to blunt "X Factor's" return, royally steaming Cowell.
He told TMZ that the networks had a "gentleman's agreement" to stay out of each other's time slots. Does he even remember what business he's in?
"The reason they've done this is they don't want people to see 'X Factor' because they've heard how good the series is. They don't want their audience to see Britney Spears."
He even blasted "Voice" mentor Christina Aguilera, accusing her of not allowing Britney to have a night of her own -- as if she has any say in NBC's prime-time schedule.
Curiosity is enough to drive "The X Factor" to a ratings win tonight. If Britney can help the troubled show find its footing, don't be surprised if she breaks out a rendition of "Oops! ... I Did It Again". and maybe even cracks a smile.
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