On our list of the most likely pop powers of the '00s to replace Paula Abdul and/or Nicole Scherzinger on X Factor, Britney Spears would've ranked somewhere below Sean Paul (but above Afroman). Certain reports of Britney the last few years have portrayed her as barely lucid, an artist so out of it that she needs her handlers to push her in the right direction to make sure she gets to where she needs to get to. Maybe those reports were unfair or embellished, but even at her most together, Britney never came off as the most industry savvy of pop stars—even if she was secretly brilliant behind the scenes, you never read an interview with her that made you think "wow, that girl actually really knows what she's talking about."

Not to pick on Britney, but we just don't see how or why she's now apparently being tabbed as a potential new X Factor judge. The Hollywood Reporter claims in an exclusive that the singer, through husband/agent Jason Trawick, is "negotiating the contract which could be signed as soon as next week." THR also reports that Spears was approached by Cowell about the opening, and that she is coveted by the FOX reality show because she brings "a level of unpredictability and drama that also was largely absent from the Fox show when Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were judges."

Well, there was a two or three year period there where "unpredictability" and "drama" were the two key watchwords of Britney Spears' trainwreck existence, so that's fair enough. But is she gonna be able to give a contestant fair, honest criticism? Is she going to have insightful advice to help contestants from week to week? Is she going to be able to hold her own against Simon as he alternately patronizes and hits on her? It's hard for us to see it, but say this—we're damn curious to find out exactly how it's going to work, and that in itself is something of a win for America's bronze-medal finalist of a music competition show.