Spears confirms she and X Factor are splitting

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Britney Spears said Friday she has made the “difficult decision” to leave Fox’s “The X Factor” after one season.


In a statement, the pop singer said she had an incredible time working on the singing contest but that it was time to get back into the studio to record.


It was widely reported Thursday that Spears and “X Factor” were parting ways after a season in which the show’s ratings fell and Spears received lackluster reviews as a panelist. Fellow panelist Antonio “L.A.” Reid previously announced he was leaving, giving creator-executive producer Simon Cowell two spots to fill.


Fox has been informed of Spears’ decision, her publicist, Jeff Raymond said Friday. Fox spokeswoman Gaude Paez confirmed that Spears is leaving the show and said the network had no further statement.


Cowell and fellow producers are discussing replacements for Spears and Reid and will be conferring with Fox, said a person who is familiar with the situation but lacked authority to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.


Demi Lovato is expected to return as a panelist, joining Cowell and the newcomers.


Spears, 31, said she was proud of the young “X Factor” contestants she helped counsel, but that watching them on stage each week made her miss performing.


“I can’t wait to get back out there and do what I love most,” she added.


When “X Factor” returns for its third season this fall, Cowell will attempt once again to match the success of the U.K. series he brought to America. After season one, Cowell replaced panelists Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones, but Spears and Lovato didn’t provide the hoped-for ratings spark, with Spears getting the brunt of criticism from observers.


She received a reported $15 million for one season’s work.


Although the series has failed to match Cowell’s bold pre-debut predictions, and certainly hasn’t eclipsed sister Fox show “American Idol,” it has helped shore up the network’s fall schedule.


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