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Spears gets ax for ‘X Factor’ mediocrity

Britney Spears and Simon Cowell are shown on the singing competition series “The X Factor.” (Associated Press)
Britney Spears and Simon Cowell are shown on the singing competition series “The X Factor.” (Associated Press)

Britney Spears is out of “The X Factor” after a season in which the pop star failed to deliver a ratings boost for the singing contest, a person familiar with the show’s plans said Thursday.

Creator Simon Cowell and fellow producers are discussing replacements for Spears and another panelist, record producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid, said the person.

Reid previously announced he was leaving after two seasons. Demi Lovato appears likely to return, joining Cowell on the revamped panel. The show is due to return in the fall.

Jeff Raymond, a publicist for Spears, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The departures are yet another shake-up for “The X Factor,” Cowell’s attempt to strike magic with a U.S. version of his successful U.K. series. Cowell replaced panelists Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones after a disappointing first season, and ratings dropped in the second season.

Combining fame and a history of erratic behavior, Spears was seen as a potential spark for better ratings. But reviewers faulted her for appearing inexpressive to the point of boredom and for a repetitively dull use of the word “awesome.”

Destiny’s Child reunites for song

Destiny’s Child is back together – for a new song. The R&B trio said Thursday they will release a new track called “Nuclear.” The song is the group’s first new offering since 2004.

“Nuclear” will appear on the compilation album, “Love Songs,” out Jan. 29. It features 13 previously released Destiny Child’s ballads, including the hits “Emotion” and “Cater 2 U.” “Nuclear” was produced by Pharrell, who co-wrote the song with Michelle Williams.

Destiny’s Child, which includes Williams, Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland, released its self-titled debut in 1998 with a fourth member. The group’s sophomore album, “The Writing’s on the Wall,” came a year later and garnered multiple hits, but the success also shook up the foursome and Destiny’s Child became a trio.

The birthday bunch

Actor Rod Taylor is 83. Country singer Naomi Judd is 67. Singer Robert Earl Keen is 57. Actress Phyllis Logan (“Downton Abbey”) is 57. Musician Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) is 55. Actor Jason Connery is 50. Rock musician Tom Dumont (No Doubt) is 45. Singer Mary J. Blige is 42. Actress Amanda Peet is 41.


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