Amidst all the buzz over the People’s Choice Awards (both X Factor and Demi Lovato left as winners) and the Oscar nominations comes the news that should surprise no one, not even Simon Cowell or anyone at FOX: Britney Spears has quit The X Factor after serving as a judge/mentor for only one year alongside Simon, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid.

Sources tell TMZ that the pop superstar “loves the show but wants to focus on her music … which she is doing right now. … Britney loves Simon, she likes Demi Lovato but her thing is music.”

At FOX’s TCA panel earlier this week, entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly had positive words for Britney: “I think Britney did a really good job. Maybe some people were waiting for more drastic displays of some nature that never came, so for those expecting that, it didn’t happen. … She’s just an interesting figure who’s lived a unique life, and I thought she brought some of that.” Keep in mind he made these comments before the news broke, so with Britney still an X Factor judge, he probably felt obligated to speak highly of her.

This was bound to happen sooner or later — it was just a matter of her either being fired or leaving on her own terms. After grabbing attention during the season 2 auditions for her odd facial expressions, once the live shows began, she devolved into handing out very generic one or two sentence critiques to the contestants, sometimes needing to be cued when to speak, and never showing much emotion.

Rumors and reports have surfaced recently saying that FOX was not going to renew her contract for an additional year anyway, so Britney quitting may be her way of saving face. Simon’s hiring her of her was expected to boost ratings and overall buzz for the show. Instead, ratings plummeted, and it soon became obvious that shelling out $15 million on “boring” Britney (when they really wanted “crazy” Britney) was not worth it in the end.

Simon is currently on vacation, and neither him nor FOX have offered any comments yet. But this just means yet another spot needs to be filled for season 3, after L.A. Reid announced his departure one week before a contestant from his own category, Tate Stevens in the Over 25’s, won the top prize. There’s no word yet on whether the remaining cast — Demi Lovato or hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian — will be asked back. But if they were smart, especially after realizing their mistake with Britney, they would keep Demi and Mario and dump Khloe. The Kardashian sister has also been heavily criticized for her lack of hosting abilities.

Who should replace Britney Spears, and should Khloe be let go as well? Will Simon have another firing field day like he did after season 1?

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.