8:08pm PT by Shirley Halperin
'X Factor' Contestant Butchers Britney Spears' 'Crazy'; Judges Storm Off
Britney Spears is finding new meaning in the chorus to her 1999 hit "(You Drive Me) Crazy," and it's not of the "excited," keep-me-up-all-night kind.
Auditioning with a Britney hit has become a semi-regular occurance on The X Factor audition tour, which has already hit Austin, San Francisco, Providence, Rhode Island and, on Monday, Greensboro, North Carolina -- that's where one season 2 hopeful "completely butchered" the Spears classic, according to a witness, causing fellow panelists L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato and Spears herself to walk off in protest.
"This contestant was so horrifyingly bad, they literally couldn't stand it another second," an onlooker tells THR. "L.A. Reid stood up and said he had enough and left, taking the girls with him. They all looked pretty pissed." Simon Cowell was left at the table unsure of what to do next.
Why such a strong reaction? It appears Reid, who's been described as "Britney's new bestie," takes any mockery of Spears very seriously. "L.A. gets very protective," says a source. Could the Epic Records boss be wooing the pop star from RCA Records to his side of the Sony building? Hmmm...
Meanwhile, our season 1 prophecy that Reid can and will out-mean Cowell seems to be coming true. One recent Providence auditioner who was all of 14 years old was told by Reid, "I don't know how you got in front of us," which elicited tears and a round of boos from the audience.