One week after “X Factor” judge L.A. Reid revealed he’s leaving the show, comes intense speculation that fellow judge Britney Spears may be following him out the door.
While viewers would surely miss Brit Brit for her entertaining facial expressions, her judging skills pretty much fall in the give-or-take category. The pop star’s popularity did not result in a ratings pop, as Simon Cowell had hoped, and now it seems unlikely that Spears will be re-signed for a second term.
The reason being, Spears originally signed a one-year contract for a whopping $15 million, and her contract renewal was reportedly contingent on her performance in Season 2. She wasn’t bad, but Fox may have a hard time justifying that huge salary since it didn’t translate into huge ratings. And it seems unlikely that Spears would take a pay cut to return, so she may cut and run instead.
A source tells Radar, “when Britney signed that contract she expected to make more if an extension for a third season was agreed. That won’t be the case now, and it is highly unlikely Britney will accept a pay decrease.”
The singing competition has already been renewed for a third season and will have at least one chair to fill (Reid’s) and potentially two if Spears bails, so salaries will play a key factor. There’s no word on the plans for the other new Season 2 judge, Demi Lovato.
There’s more evidence that Spears is doubtful about doing a second season of the show.
Earlier this season, when asked if she’d be back for Season 3, Spears told reporters, “Yes, I definitely will.”
However, last week, when asked the same question, Spears told The New York Post, “Maybe. We’ll see.”
Cowell declined to comment on the show’s persistent judging and hosting problem (the show eviscerated its cast at the end of the first season, and new co-host Khloe Kardashian Odom has been heavily criticized).
“It is that time of year where you are always going to get asked that kind of question,” Cowell told The Post last week. “And I am not going to answer it.”
It’s also that time of year when potential replacement judge names start churning in the publicity machine, and the first one to pop out is … singer Rihanna, with gossip sites claiming Cowell is trying to recruit her for Season 3.
As for Reid’s first choice for his replacement, he’s giving his vote to … Bon Jovi?
“I have nothing to do with it, but my choice would be Jon Bon Jovi,” Reid told “Access Hollywood.” “That’s who I would pick.”
The two-hour season finale of “The X Factor” airs this Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8/7c on Fox.