After booting Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell's "X Factor" appears to be going in a youthful direction. Though producers of the show have not yet officially announced that Britney Spears has joined the judging panel of the show for its upcoming second season, according to reports the fourth seat — next to Cowell and record executive L.A. Reid — could go to Demi Lovato.
Citing unnamed sources, The Hollywood Reporter said on Tuesday that Disney star Lovato, 19, is "closing a deal" to join Spears as one of the new judges on the show. In an attempt to lure a younger audience, producers are in final negotiations to sign Lovato, though the trade magazine noted that, "The deal is not yet done and could fall apart."
Spokespeople for Lovato and "Factor" could not be reached for comment at press time, and did not comment to the Reporter for their story, but the magazine speculated that Cowell could be planning to make a judging reveal at the Fox upfront event for ad buyers on May 14. Auditions with the new judges are slated to take place at the end of this month.
Though Spears has reportedly been circling a $15 million deal to appear on the second season of the show, the Los Angeles Times noted that final talks on her contract have dragged on because the 30-year-old singer has, "insisted on various perks that have bogged down negotiations."
A point of conflict has reportedly been Cowell's insistence that Spears sign a two-year contract with the show, while she wants the option of opting out after just one season if she feels the gig is not a good fit. Whether Spears manager/boyfriend Jason Trawick and Cowell were able to reach an agreement on the issue has not been made public.
Lovato's name is also not the only youthful one being bandied about for the final spot. Both Miley Cyrus and Avril Lavigne have been mentioned as potential judges, though no details or confirmation of those talks have emerged. Several other female stars, including Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, have also been rumored as potential "Factor" judges, but neither appear to be in the mix at this point.