Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have touched down in Austin, Texas, ready to shape the futures of America’s most hopeful. The first day of The X Factor auditions is officially underway, giving our newest judges their turn at critiquing all who believe themselves to be the next big thing, alongside the more experienced Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid. According to E!, all four judges will hang around ATX for two days, filming four three-hour audition rounds for the show. Around 200 hopefuls are expected to pass through the set, each hoping that Spears and Lovato will support their unique brand of wannabe.
Fans on the scene, like the incredibly diligent BradySpears, have been keeping an accurate account of the first time judges’ critiquing styles and occasional Starbucks runs. It’s hard to get through a lot of bad performers without a caffeine boost.
“I think you can be the next Justin Bieber,” said Spears to her first contestant of the day. Bravo, Brit-Brit! Kicking things off with positivity and a timely pop reference. Sean Preston must be getting into your iTunes again.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Demi opted for a wordier, more indirect attempt at criticism. There were the necessary mentions of “tone” and “style,” yes, but she was more focused with letting her subject down easy than directly pointing out any problems. “I think that you have a great voice and your tone was great but I don’t know where you fit and I don’t know what’s going to set you apart from other musicians that are poised. So I think that you just have to find out what makes you special…” she explained. A sensible comment on Day One, considering few of these Texans will make it to Hollywood. But crushing dreams is only going to get more difficult as the season goes on. The real question is: how easily can Demi cry?
Sounding coherent and opting for words with three—count ‘em!—syllables, any fear people may have about Britney’s judging abilities were kept in check. There’s will be many more auditions to go, plus the entire concept of a live show come fall, but for now it’s good to see Britney looking happy and sounding helpful in front of so many who likely grew up listening to her music.
Conservators and superfans may now let out a communal sigh of relief. That is, until Simon Cowell tells her to do something differently…