Pop stars Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have been confirmed as the newest judges, or mentors, on Simon Cowell's FOX series "The X Factor," following weeks of speculation.
The singing contest series returns for season 2 in September. The two women are joining Cowell and returning cast member L.A. Reid on the judging panel, replacing Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, who left the show in January.
It has been reported for weeks that Spears, 30, Britney Spears was close to finalizing an agreement to fill one of the positions. The official announcement about her and Lovato's casting on the series was made at FOX's upfront presentation of new and returning shows to ad buyers on Monday, May 14. Spears and Lovato also posted photos of themselves with Cowell and Reidd.
"It's official!" Lovato, who debuted a new blonde hairstyle, Tweeted. "I am so excited!!!"
Spears will reportedly earn $15 million to join "The X Factor," while Lovato, 19, will be paid about $1 million, The Hollywood Reporter said. The network has declined to comment about its cast members' salaries.
Both pop stars command a massive fan following and are both enjoying career comebacks following years of turmoil. Spears' fiance and former manager, Jason Trawick was recently approved to become her co-conservator and helped negotiate her "X Factor" deal. Her father, Jamie, has been managing her financial affairs since she suffered a 2007 meltdown that saw her shaving her own head at a salon (see video).
Lovato is currently preparing for a North American summer tour that is set to begin in June, following gigs in South America. She dropped out of a concert series with the Jonas Brothers in 2010 to seek medical treatment for what she called "emotional and physical issues" and spent about two months at a facility. She has since opened up about her personal struggles with drugs, alcohol, anorexia and depression in print and television interviews.
Cowell has said that he learned his lesson from the first season of "The X Factor," which delivered lower ratings than those earned by "American Idol," which had featured him as a judge from its 2002 debut to 2010. "The X Factor" debuted on FOX last fall and averaged around 13 million viewers. January's season 11 premiere of "American Idol" was watched by more than 21 million.
"Sometimes you've gotta change things and I think change is good," Cowell was quoted as saying, in a message posted on the show's official Twitter page on Monday.
He also reposted Spears' photo (see below). The winner of "The X Factor" gets $5 million in cash and a record deal. Season 2 begins in the fall and the show will air twice a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET.