Britney Spears makes 'X Factor' debut in Austin

L.A. Reid (far left), Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and Simon Cowell during a taping of "The X Factor."

Story highlights

  • Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, L.A. Reid, Simon Cowell listened to 31 singers
  • The first of two days of tapings took place in Austin, Texas
  • Demi Lovato drew laughs and cheers from the crowd
Britney Spears received the loudest, longest applause at the start of her first taping as a judge on Fox's "The X Factor" on Thursday, but it was fellow newcomer Demi Lovato who appeared ready to steal the spotlight during the second season of the popular talent search show.
During the first of two days of tapings in Austin, Texas, the panel of four judges -- Spears, Lovato, producer L.A. Reid and series creator Simon Cowell -- listened to 31 singers and groups audition for a chance at a $5 million recording contract, with the four music industry vets critiquing the performances and deciding who should advance to the next round in Los Angeles.
Spears' addition to the show -- along with Lovato, she was announced as a new judge at television upfront meetings with advertisers earlier this month, with a rumored $15 million contract -- has drawn plenty of speculation about how the pop star would mesh with the other judges. Wearing a tight, fluorescent salmon pink dress, Spears was the last judge introduced to the 4,000-plus crowd at the Frank Erwin Center. She received sustained cheers as she sat down to the right of Cowell, the departed creator of Fox's "American Idol" (and normally the biggest star at the judges' table).
When her turn came to critique singers, Spears remained encouraging and positive, giving the most "yes" votes of any of the judges and keeping her comments short and declarative instead of engaging with contestants. Of a teenage male performer she offered, "You could be bigger th