If there is a slight uptick in X-Factor's ratings this year it's probably because the entire TMZ readership tuned in to see if their favorite whipping post, Britney Spears, cracked under the pressure. Unfortunately for them, she did just fine. In fact, Britney looked very much like she had it together, was in great shape physically, and offerred feedback to contestants that may not have been deep, but was certainly edgy enough to get her by.
Spears life has been the subject of all kinds of ridicule over the last few years. She was investigated by child protective services, shaved her head in public, and was deemed incompetent to handle her own finances. It's been a while since Britney managed to summon anything even slightly resembling her pop-princess heyday, so anyone would have been justified in thinking that her X-Factor debut was going to be a televised trainwreck.
If all of this sounds too good to be true, there is a catch: Britney's performance was not live. In fact, there were moments when she seemed downright scripted, and many of her diatribes were clearly strung together from multiple takes, perhaps making her seem more quick witted and lucid than she really is. The possibility of a pending Britney meltdown was definitely not lost on the X-Factor producers, they even worked it into the show with Simon Cowell periodically checking in her to see how she was coping with the gig.
Before too long, X-Factor will go live and Britney won't have the luxury of the show's crack editing team to make her look wiser. So for those hoping to see Britney Spears crash and burn, there is still hope.