Last night was the season two premiere of X Factor on which replacement judge Britney Spears was reunited with someone from her past, Don Philip. Leading people to ask from whence they knew each other, who was Philip, what had he done in the interim, why was he crying backstage, and what really happened?
If you watched the premiere, you’ll know it was something of a non-starter: lots of scripted platitudes and put-downs from the judges, especially the female judges, lots of filler, lots of sob stories chosen because of personality or pity rather than talent, and not a lot of singing. One of the moments about which everyone’s talking from last night was when Spears became reunited with Philip, whom she recognised at the San Francisco auditions and, honestly, she didn’t look thrilled. It was awkward and got progressively more pitiful.
Spears explained, as did Philip, how they knew each other. Philip, now a 32-year-old vocal coach, explained that he had worked with Spears on her debut album, Baby One More Time, over a decade ago after which they lost touch. It seemed he’d had a lot of “almosts” in between and it was hard to see his successful peer sitting in front of him. Specifically, they sang together and there’s a duet with Philip credited called I Will Still Love You. You can listen to I Will Still Love You, below.
On X Factor, Philip sang Beyonce’s Halo. Badly. His voice was shaky and it had deteriorated since he did the duet (in the late 1990s). He got a “no” from the panel, and Spears said: “I feel like through they years maybe you’ve gone through a lot of hardships and battles, but your voice really isn’t up the bar of the standards of The X Factor and what we want.” Here’s the whole clip from the show.
So, why was he crying? Thank creative editing for the confession onstage about not feeling “worthy” and the breakdown backstage about “hurting” Spears making no sense. For some reason, the conversation was whittled to where it lost context. The actual exchange, notes MTV News: ”I’m gay,” Philip reportedly said. “At the time [we recorded together], I didn’t think I was worth … I didn’t think you thought it was OK that I am gay.” To which Spears replied “I think it is fine you are gay.” That’s when and why he cried. And that’s why he said: “Did you see Britney’s eyes? My God! I saw her face, and I feel like I’ve hurt her.”