9:42am PT by Michele Amabile Angermiller
'X Factor' Judge Demi Lovato: I'm Not Dating Niall Horan
Fans of One Direction can breathe a sigh of relief: The X Factor judge Demi Lovato is NOT dating heartthrob Niall Horan.
“He’s really sweet, and he’s one of my really good friends now,” she said in a backstage interview amid auditions at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. “I am single at the moment, and I plan to be for a long time because I need to focus on my career and myself and my well-being before I think about getting in a relationship.”
Lovato said she is too busy adjusting to her new responsibilities on the show. Being harsh may come easily to Simon Cowell, but the rookie judge revealed that saying no to hopefuls is harder than she imagined.
“I didn’t think it would be this challenging,” Lovato revealed. “Saying no to people is really hard.”
Lovato especially feels torn with certain contestants and is concerned that her words might harm fragile psyches in the process.
“Emotionally, it messes with you a little bit,” she said. “If you say no, what if that was their only shot and you let them go when they weren’t really that bad?”
Meanwhile, fellow X Factor judge Britney Spears said lack of preparation could kill an audition.
“A lot of contestants we have been seeing lately are just a little unsure about their performance together,” she said. “Come prepared and do the training you need to do.”
Spears admitted that sometimes a male singer’s look is a determining factor -- Cowell and L.A. Reid notoriously favor cute girls with questionable vocals -- but said she is always looking for something extra.
“It does help a little bit if the guys are somewhat handsome,” she said. “For the most part, we try to boil it down to the talent. We try to knock Simon and L.A. into shape.”
Both judges agreed that there is a comfort that they are brand new in the reality show game, and they lean on each other for support during the live shows -- even if they are both sometimes a little clueless with certain musical genres.
“Even today, I didn’t know what was considered a good rapper because I don’t listen to rap,” said Spears.
Lovato admitted she wasn’t much help in that department, either.
“I don’t know, he talks fast, and he sounds good, so yeah,” laughed Lovato.
Watch more from the auditions, plus a hilarious sighting of Cowell arriving on a scooter, below: