Cowell vows to "kick butt" with new "Factor" stars
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britney Spears and former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato officially joined the U.S. version of "The X Factor" on Monday, leading creator Simon Cowell to pledge the second season would "seriously kick butt" when it returns in September.
Spears, 30, the world's biggest pop phenomenon of the 2000s, and Lovato, 19, will fill the judge's slots left open by Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, who were both fired by Cowell after a disappointing first season in 2011.
Spears and Lovato appeared with Cowell and fellow judge Antonio "L.A" Reid at Fox television's presentation of its new 2012-13 season programming to advertisers in New York.
The announcement ended months of speculation over the new faces on the singing contest, which offers a $5 million recording contract to a new star found from tens of thousands of ordinary Americans.
"We've delivered. Rumors are one thing but we've delivered," a delighted Cowell said. Moments earlier he Tweeted a photo of himself with record producer Reid, Spears and Lovato, saying "Can't believe it's finally happening. Very exciting!"
Spears found fame as a 16-year-old in 1998 with her debut single "Baby One More Time" and went on to score multiple hits with songs like "Crazy", "Oops I Did It Again" and "Womanizer." She had a much-publicized personal and career meltdown in 2007, but made a comeback with her 2008 album "Circus" and a world tour.
"I'm so excited by this whole experience. It's so different from anything I've ever done," Spears said in New York.
Lovato starred in the Disney Channel's TV series "Sonny With a Chance" before launching a career as a pop singer with hit singles like "Skyscraper".
"Demi's had an amazing career in music, TV and film for someone her age. She's young, confident and enthusiastic. I think it's really important that she speaks to our younger audience," Cowell said in a statement. Continued...