Dear Britney: Doing ‘The X Factor’ Is a Really Bad Idea

Jonah HexUPDATE: Simon Cowell confirmed the news today that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will join The X Factor. 

Dearest Britney Spears:

Speculation is currently running wild that you are going to take a record-breaking $15 million dollar deal to serve as a judge on The X-Factor, Simon Cowell‘s beleaguered Tupperware container full of rewarmed American Idol leftovers. I know that the offer is very, very tempting and that you’re not even in control of all your own business affairs yet, but, honey, you really need to say no to this.

On a show as formulaic as X-Factor, they’ll surely want you for the “Paula Abdul slot,” a slot that even the great Paula Abdul herself couldn’t fill. That role puts you in danger of being pegged as the faded pop star who says nice but completely idiotic things about the singers on the show. That puts you in danger of being pegged as a volatile mess that will slur encouragement while bobbing and weaving in her chair. That puts you in danger of being pegged as someone so unpredictable, something could crack at any moment that causes you to destroy yourself in a fiery wreckage on live television, luring in all the viewers that season one lacked. Reality TV is not the outlet for the triumphant Britney with a taut tummy holding a snake over her head singing “I’m a Slave 4 U.” Reality TV is the outlet for the fat Britney who falls on her ass singing “Gimme More.” Reality TV is the outlet for bald Britney clubbing an SUV with an umbrella. This is not the image you want to perpetuate.

Sorry, Britney, but ever since your very public 2007 breakdown, things just haven’t been the same. You don’t go out in public all that much. You don’t do the red carpets (thankfully sparing us from more denim-based disasters). You don’t do anything where you might run into a reporter and have to answer an actual question. Over the past few years, you’ve been turned into an entertainment automaton, making a lot of people a lot of money just by going through the motions.

For your last album, Femme Fatale, you wouldn’t do any live interviews, only things that were taped, edited, and pre-approved by Britney Spears Industries, Inc. Either that or they were conducted over email where god knows who is writing the responses. Now you’re going to be on live television twice a week speaking extemporaneously? There will be no teleprompters. There will be no scripted responses. There will be no one there to tell you what to say. And you think this a good idea? You could be setting yourself up to fail, to crash and burn for our own entertainment. You did that once already. Do you want to do it again?

I didn’t think so. While stars like J. Lo and Steven Tyler have revived their careers by jumping on the reality TV bandwagon, you’re not the has-been that they once were. You’re also not the striver desperately trying to hold onto your fame. You’re a cash register that your managers, agents, and other hangers-on keep dipping their fingers into. You don’t even seem like you enjoy performing anymore. It’s like you’re a wind-up monkey that keeps playing because it doesn’t know how to do anything else. It kind of seems like you just want to cash out and raise your kids in a McMansion somewhere in Louisiana and forget all about the fame nonsense.

Britney, if that’s what you want, go for it. But, if you want to get back to the top of the charts, this is not the way to do it, with your new fans winking at you ironically and rolling their eyes as they can’t help but dance to your latest track. Either way, The X-Factor is not the answer to your problems. Turn it down.


Your Fans

P.S.: Next time you think about doing television again, just have another look at Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. That should solve that problem.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan


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