Britney Spears/courtesy of Fox Television

LOS ANGELES - Clips of Britney Spears on the upcoming season of "The X Factor," presents a tough, quick-witted force to be reckoned with. That's not the Spears that addressed reporters Monday at the TV Critics Assocation press tour. Spears, beamed in from Miami where the show is conducting boot camp, seemed disoriented, lost and downright afraid to say much. Her most revealing comment: "I like rap."

Yeah, it was that kind of session.

Fortunately, Simon Cowell was his usual cheeky self. He described Spears as "really mean" and "sweet as a lemon." He also took a dig at new judge Demi Lovato, labeling her a "brat."

He tried to give out a compliment to Mariah Carey, who was named a new "Idol" judge earlier in the day. But the putdown king couldn't help himself.

"I think she'll have a hard time saying no," said Cowell, referring to the judges' need to turn away bad auditioners.