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Britney Spears Offered $10M for 'X Factor'

Simon Cowell wants pop star to be a judge on the show

March 9, 2012 8:40 AM ET
Britney Spears
Britney Spears speaks on stage at the Wango Tango concert.
REUTERS /MARIO ANZUONI /LANDOV

Simon Cowell has reportedly offered Britney Spears $10 million to become a judge on the second season of The X Factor. Cowell and the producers of the singing competition recently fired judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger in the hopes of landing bigger stars. Janet Jackson was reportedly in talks with Cowell as well, but it's unclear whether or not the offer to Spears jeopardizes her chances of also signing with the show.

If Spears takes the gig, she would be one of the top earners in reality television, eclipsing her old rival Christina Aguilera's pay for The Voice but lagging just behind Jennifer Lopez, who signed on to the current season of American Idol for $12 million.

"I'm fascinated by Britney," Cowell said in a conference call with the press last week, acknowledging the possibility that Spears could join his show. "The fact that she's one of the most talked about — not just pop stars, but people — in the world today means that you've got this star power. She's still hot, she’s still having hit records, and she's still controversial. There's a reason for that."

The X Factor is set to return to television this fall. In addition to a new lineup of judges, the series will also have a new pair of hosts, though Cowell has yet to announce who will be taking on those duties.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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