Britney Spears 'X Factor' Rumors Are 'Nonsense,' Simon Cowell Says

'She's got her confidence up. Once people give her a chance, I think people are really going to get her,' Cowell says of new judge.

Simon Cowell is clearly feeling better — after missing "The X Factor" auditions in Kansas City, Missouri, due to a bout of bronchitis — and he's talking Britney Spears.

Cameramen from X17 caught up with Cowell while he was riding in his town car in Beverly Hills, and they found the oft-testy reality-show judge and music executive to be in a particularly good mood. Cowell addressed a variety of tabloid rumors regarding Spears — namely that she's had some issues on set and that she's shaping up to be one of the tougher judges.

When a cameraman asked whether "Britney's too unstable" to judge "X Factor," Cowell responded, "No, she's not unstable. I'm the one who's unstable! She's working out great. All these reports that we've fallen out are nonsense. She's doing a great job."

Cowell's car then pulls away, but again comes to a stop in traffic, allowing the paparazzi to continue his questioning. Asked whether Spears was his favorite judge, Cowell said, "There's only two girls," referring to Demi Lovato, and went on to jokingly admit that he is his own favorite of all time. "Yeah, I'd say Simon Cowell is a great guy," he quipped. "Very good looking."

Pressed further about Spears, Cowell offered more praise for the pop singer. "Like I said, she's been amazing. She's really taking time to learn how to do this," he continued. "She's got her confidence up. Once people give her a chance, I think people are really going to get her. It will be a big surprise. She's a tough judge."

As tough as the famously direct Cowell? "I'm a pussycat," he said playfully as his car pulled away.

We guess all that talk that Spears has been "incredibly tough" on contestants might not be far from the truth. For her part, Spears responded to those rumors herself, taking to Twitter to say, "It's all tough love ... I promise!"

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