Spears recently fell under scrutiny after erroneous reports that she had stormed off the show early on in filming, but now it seems the entire judging panel did the same at a recent audition in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sources told People that an unnamed contestant auditioning for a chance on the reality show turned his back on the panel during a critique, refusing to look at them.
Spears, Lovato, and fellow judges LA Reid and stand-in judge Louis Walsh stood and left their seats.
An onlooker commented: "It was really awkward. You could tell the judges were done. I don't think they had a choice. They didn't want to waste their time."
"[The contestant] was one of the worst singers and had a bad attitude," added another audience member. "[The judges] all hated it and walked off."
The contestant apparently did not notice the departure of the four judges, and continued on with his audition.
Spears reportedly did not return to finish the first taping session, which only featured one more contestant, although she did return for the day's second session.
Photo gallery - 'X Factor' USA judges - including guest judge Louis Walsh - at Kansas auditions: