Britney Spears was coolly composed on the first live episode of the US edition of The X Factor. The same can't be said for the new host Khloe Kardashian Odom.
Odom, adding to her reality TV credentials, was paired with Mario Lopez to emcee as the singing contest shifted this week from taped to live broadcasts.
Lopez performed like the pro he is. Odom came across like the novice she is, shouting her lines despite the mic clutched in her hand and making awkward small talk with the contestants and judges.
In a conference call last week, the judge and executive producer Simon Cowell had discussed expectations for the show's new co-host, a member of reality TV's first family that includes sister Kim Kardashian. Odom's credits include Khloe and Lamar, with husband Lamar Odom, a Los Angeles Clippers player.
"She wants to prove a point," Cowell said, noting that observers had questioned Odom's readiness to steer a live programme. He warned that she would need "nerves of steel" because she had less rehearsal time than planned.
"I kind of like to see the unpredictable and I quite like seeing people under pressure and just how they deal with it," Cowell said. Odom and Lopez replaced the first season's host Steve Jones, a UK TV personality.
Cowell also expressed reservations about how Spears would manage. While lauding her as a "very, very good judge" so far, he said it was unclear "what she's going to be like on a live show" involving competition between the judges over the contestants they are mentoring.
Spears proved up to the task. She heaped praise on singers and remained calm when criticism was levelled at those she's guiding. When Cowell told one teenager that "we need to sort your vocals out", Spears shot back: "I disagree. I think you're a true star." - AP