If you’re a fan of Britney Spears, one thing can not be denied. For the past four years, the public has felt unusually separated from the pop princess. Barely any interviews, minimal television appearances, and don’t even get me started on those lackluster performances. But Spears is making all that up to her fans with her latest gig. She is one of the four judges on this season of “The X Factor USA.” I will admit, I was shocked when I heard the news this past summer. “If Britney is going to be a judge, she will probably be a very stiff one,” I thought. “She’ll probably say the same thing to every contestant and get away with it.” I’m coming clean and admitting that I had my doubts.

Cut to the Fall of 2012 and Britney Spears is proving me wrong. She is honest and doesn’t shy away from giving her true opinion. When Owen Stuart auditioned, he received acclaim from all three judges, Simon Cowell, Demi┬áLovato, and L.A. Reid. Everyone, that is, except Britney Spears. “I thought it was a really good performance,” Spears said, “but you didn’t wow me.” There’s also a hilarious reel of moments where Spears says “no” to contestants who failed to impress her during their audition. One already classic moment found Britney describing someone as “Vanilla Ice meets Lauryn Hill meets ‘West Side Story’.”

But it’s not about Spears being a mean judge. It’s about her being real, being herself. She has been so guarded from the public for so long, and for good reason. The horrifying overexposure Spears experienced during those dark times in 2007 and 2008 will hopefully never be relived. But times have changed and people want to experience Britney Spears all over again. They want her to let us into her world again. And it appears that doing a show where she is not the center of attention allows her to feel comfortable enough to do just that.