Simon Cowell was M.I.A. for The X Factor auditions in Kansas City, Missouri June 8, but Britney Spears, 30, L.A. Reid, 56, and Demi Lovato, 19, made guest judge Louis Walsh, 59, feel right at home. (Walsh has been with the British version of the talent competition since its inception in 2004.)
"We tend to agree with Britney more than others," Reid said backstage. "She has amazing taste."
Spears then interrupted Reid, saying: "You ganged up on me one time! It wasn't nice."
According to Reid, it's nothing to get worked up about. "One out of 75 auditions -- that's not bad," he told a giggling Spears.
Though they don't always agree on every performer, Spears said "it's the best feeling when someone comes on stage and makes us want to stand up, gives us energy and makes us feel alive."
Lovato added that she's had a tough time delivering bad news to less than stellar singers.
"At first I didn't even really want to do it. It's easier to say when you're having meetings with people, 'Oh, yeah! It'll totally come easy.' But when I got in this seat and I had to give negative criticism to somebody, it definitely sucks."
The "Give Your Heart a Break" singer continued: "But they're asking for your advice and by stepping on that stage they also know that you could not like their performance. They're taking a chance and I'm going to take a chance by telling them something that I believe."
The X Factor premieres this fall on FOX.