The Real Reason Britney Left 'The X Factor'

When The X Factor returns to television for its third season this fall, its stand-out hire from last season, Britney Spears, will not be at the judges' table. The announcement came back in January and since then, many have speculated as to her reasoning. But creator and judge Simon Cowell set the record straight on Ellen Wednesday, declaring that her general unease caused her exit.

"[Spears] was fine," Cowell explained to host Ellen DeGeneres, "I just think she found it very uncomfortable." But how could a woman who makes her living performing in front of large crowds be unnerved by a few singing amateurs? Well according to Cowell, "She wasn't comfortable being negative, she didn't like it when the contestants spoke back to her." Something that probably didn't help the singer's general reluctance towards chatty behavior.

"I kind of booked someone who couldn't talk, which is a bit of a problem when you want someone to judge," he explained. Which is very true! So it's not really all that big of a surprise that Spears' took her exit alongside fellow former season two judge, Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid.

But we're fairly certain that there had to be more to it than that, right? Sure, Spears isn't much of a talker, but she is someone who looks like she's seen a lot of shit in her day — some of which she probably wishes she didn't see. So we're betting that her departure is much more nuanced than all of that. Like...

  • She saw way more of Simon Cowell's nipples than she ever thought possible through a fitted t-shirt.
  • One night she caught L.A. Reid in the middle of his nightly ritual to harvest the souls of young talent. (Reid was incredibly vocal/petulant in the dislike he had for his own mentor group, the 25+ group, aka The Olds). While attempting to scrub the stench of decay and informed decisions off his skin from his obligatory mentorship time with the Olds, he accidentally knocked over his vial of fresh Youths' blood, causing a frenzied transformation into Baphomet.
  • She couldn't listen to Demi Lovato talk about her newest album for another nanosecond.
  • She realized the X in The X Factor actually stood for 'Xyloid' and she was uncomfortable about the metaphorical implications for the people auditioning.
  • She decided that she'd rather not be propped up as a glittery novelty item explicitly used as a tool to beef up ratings.