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Quick Takes: Britney says she quit

January 12, 2013

Britney Spears is in a war of words with her former employers at "The X Factor."

The pop diva released a statement Friday confirming that she won't be returning as a judge for the Fox singing show. Except, according to Spears, it wasn't the producers' decision. It was all hers. "I've made the very difficult decision not to return for another season," a statement attributed to Spears said. "I had an incredible time doing the show and I love the other judges and I am so proud of my teens, but it's time for me to get back in the studio...."

These words raised a few eyebrows because Simon Cowell and the other producers have done nothing to stem reports that they were unhappy with Spears' lackluster judging performance. "X Factor" suffered through double-digit ratings declines despite expectations that Spears' presence would boost viewership.

"It's pretty hard to quit a show you weren't being asked back to anyway," a source close to Cowell's production company said. Cowell is set to begin discussions with Fox next week about the judging talent for next season.

A talent manager not directly connected to Spears said that her split with the producers gave her enough room to claim she quit. The decision was "mutual," the manager said.

— Scott Collins

Eddie Awards name nominees

American Cinema Editors announced its nominees for the 63rd ACE Eddie Awards Friday morning. The Eddies recognize outstanding editing in nine categories in film, TV and documentaries.

Best-edited film nominees: William Goldenberg for "Argo," Tim Squyres for "Life of Pi," Michael Kahn for "Lincoln," Stuart Baird for "Skyfall" and Dylan Tichenor for "Zero Dark Thirty."

Feature film (comedy or musical) nominees: Chris Gill for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," Melanie Ann Oliver and Chris Dickens for "Les Misérables," Andrew Weisblum for "Moonrise Kingdom," Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Jeff Freeman for "Ted."

Animated feature film nominees: Nicolas C. Smith for "Brave," Chris Lebenzon and Mark Solomon for "Frankenweenie," Joyce Arrastia for "Rise of the Guardians" and Tim Mertens for "Wreck-It-Ralph."

Documentary feature nominees: Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson for "Samsara," Malik Bendjelloul for "Searching for Sugar Man" and Billy McMillin for "West of Memphis."

Winners will be announced Feb. 16.

— Susan King

Duchess' portrait has its dissenters

Kate Middleton's official portrait has been unveiled in Britain's National Portrait Gallery — but not everyone is in love with what they see.

The painting, by Scottish artist Paul Emsley, was commissioned by the gallery, where William and Kate saw it for the first time on Friday.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 31, said that she wanted "to be portrayed naturally — her natural self — as opposed to her official self," Emsley said in the New York Daily News.

The oil painting displays Kate's brunet locks on a dark background and lightens her green eyes. Emsley adds bags under and creases around her eyes.

"When I work with a portrait, I push it beyond just Realism, so I always had faith that I would go beyond that and find something original, and I think the fact that we got a half-smile, or we've got a smile with a closed mouth, does make it slightly unique in that sense," he said.

Kate sat for the portrait. "It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful," said William.

But the portrait isn't doing it for art critics, who have slammed Emsley's work, saying the portrait looks nothing like her, ages her and makes her nose look big.

Kate "transmits a sense of joie de vivre," British Art Journal editor Robin Simon told the Associated Press. "This is dead, dead, dead."

— Nardine Saad

Their destiny is to reunite

Following Beyoncé's news that Destiny's Child will release a new song, "Nuclear," word is that the trio will perform as part of the pop diva's Super Bowl halftime show in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

A source in the Beyoncé camp confirmed that the other members of Destiny's Child — Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — will reunite onstage for the first time since 2007, when they surprised fans during Beyoncé's Staples Center gig as part of her Experience tour.

While Beyoncé's set list for the big show is still under wraps, the members are expected to tease a medley of their signature hits, culminating with "Nuclear."

After the Destiny's Child medley, Beyoncé will debut a track. Rumors have her releasing an album in the second quarter of 2013, though a date hasn't been confirmed.

— Randall Roberts

Travis charged with DWI

Blood alcohol results show country star Randy Travis was legally drunk when he was arrested naked following a Texas traffic accident in August.

The Grayson County District Attorney said Travis was formally charged with driving while intoxicated. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

— Associated Press

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