The Hollywood Reporter Unveils 2013 Reality Heat List
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Reality's version of failing upward (paging Idol reject-turned-Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson) has a new standard bearer: Britney Spears.
In 2012, the 31-year-old pop star, 14 years removed from her first hit, 1998's "… Baby One More Time," landed a plush $15 million gig to take a seat at The X Factor, where she judged pop-star hopefuls alongside competition kingpin Simon Cowell, Epic Records head L.A. Reid and singer Demi Lovato.
Her impact? She was instantly dubbed a casting misfire, and the Fox series dropped in ratings by about 20 percent. (Her banal go-to performance assessment, "Amazing," likely didn't help matters.)
But what came next could only happen within the forgiving confines of reality TV. In January, Spears announced she wasn't returning to X Factor yet saw her single, will.i.am's "Scream & Shout," race up the Billboard Hot 100. She also was reportedly fielding offers for a run in Las Vegas a la Celine Dion -- a deal that could be worth more than $100 million a year.
The lesson? Failing on reality TV can be a lucrative audition for the next act. "Because of her ups and downs, people want her to succeed," says Larry Klein, executive producer of the American Music Awards, of Spears' career boomerang. "Just when you think it might be over for her, she pulls a rabbit out of her hat."