Those expecting sunshine and catatonia from Britney Spears' new gig as X Factor judge must have been surprised to see how dismissive and blunt she proved to be on last night's Season 2 premiere of the Fox singing competition.

She hasn't seemed as with it, if you will, in years and she bordered on delicious bitchiness at times. Were it not for the brief verbal flub, "I feel uncomfortable with you even staring at me," would have had come off as the barely affected words of a reality TV veteran. It seems like this is one job that Britney Spears might actually enjoy? (That's as opposed to the pop-star thing that she's been sleepwalking through for the past few albums.) She was put on the spot when a guy she sang with on her debut album, Don Philip, showed up as a jittery mess who could no longer sing. She was sensitive and honest, which exceeds my expectations for superstars twice over.

The show knows they've got a winner here and included a montage of her curt send-offs. Instant supercuts are what we get in 2012. More interesting from a subtextual perspective is Simon Cowell's incessant negging of this season's other new judge, 20-year-old Disney vet Demi Lovato. Creepy with a chance?


Britney joining this show means that she is making herself available for the iconography of today: the reaction gif. The Internet will be flooded with these, if it isn't already. Welcome home, Brit.