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Reports surfaced recently that the pop superstar was interested in joining the panel, but according to an insider, show creator Simon Cowell made the initial approach. Ms. Spears is signed to Sony Music’s RCA Records, which absorbed her original label Jive in 2011 and has exclusive music rights to “X Factor” artists.

As one of Sony Music’s marquee acts, Ms. Spears brings legitimacy as a successful recording artist, something critics of “X Factor” say was missing in last year’s competition, as well as a level of unpredictability and drama that also was largely absent from the Fox show when Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were judges.

During a conference call with reporters in February, Mr. Cowell would not confirm that talks had begun with Ms. Spears but hinted that “there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks and a lot of things we’re going to announce.”

There has been no word yet on who might fill the fourth judging slot. Two hosts have yet to be named as well.

Seagal, sheriff’s office sued over reality show

Actor Steven Seagal and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are being sued over a 2011 arrest that a Phoenix-area man said was staged for a reality TV show.

According to the Associated Press, Jesus Llovera said Mr. Seagal and deputies unlawfully raided his home because they thought Mr. Llovera was raising fighting roosters. Mr. Llovera said the birds on his property were for show and not for fighting.

The civil suit asks for a jury to determine unspecified monetary damages.

The Arizona Republic reports the sheriff’s office was participating in a reality show, “Steven Seagal: Lawman,” that followed Mr. Seagal’s exploits as a deputized officer.

1st ‘Idol’ finalist booted in snap decision by judges

Jeremy Rosado has gotten the hook on “American Idol.”

Thursday’s edition of the Fox singing contest saw the exit of the 19-year-old receptionist from Valrico, Fla. He left behind a dozen finalists still in the running.

They include Elise Testone, a 28-year-old teacher from Charleston, S.C., whom the judges spared in favor of Mr. Rosado. The two were revealed as the female and male singers rated lowest by viewers after Wednesday’s show, and in a novel twist the judges were charged with deciding, on the spot, who would stay and who would go.

Among the other four who got the lowest viewer scores but, for now, remain safe: 25-year-old gentle giant Jermaine Jones of Pine Hill, N.J.; soaring 16-year-old vocalist Shannon Magrane of Tampa, Fla.; 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt of South Kingstown, R.I.; and booming 19-year-old student Joshua Ledet of Westlake, La.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.