Will I Am attends Cheryl Cole’s concert after party held at Whisky Mist in London (October 8, 2012)

*On Wednesday, the “Boot Camp” round of “The X Factor” ends with the selection of this season’s Top 24 and the beginning of the “Judges’ Homes” round, where each of the four judges are assigned a category of singers.

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During each episode, the acts have to perform for both their judge and the judge’s celebrity guest mentor. Marc Anthony will join Simon Cowell, Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun will assist L.A. Reid, Nick Jonas will team with Demi Lovato and will.i.am will ride along with Britney Spears.

“Me and Britney, we were working in the studio on a song for my record.  And we were just chit-chatting about what we had going on this year and next year, and she mentioned the Judge’s House,” will.i.am told us about how he landed the mentor gig. “She asked if I would want to get down and mentor the kids with her.  I was like, hell yeah.  What?! You crazy.”

Britney says the “Judges’ Homes” round, which continues on Thursday, Oct. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, Oct. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), will likely be the toughest stretch for her emotionally.

“The hardest part will be to send someone home,” she told us. “The challenge is that it’s going to be kind of hard having to be in a situation to tell them ‘no’ and to make them go home.  That’s probably the hardest, but the good facts are that there are those four that are going to stay and that we’re going to do a really good job.”

In fact, Britney predicts of “X Factor” Season 2 overall: “The winner is definitely in my category.”

Below, will.i.am talks about Britney’s rep as a “mean judge.”

“THE X FACTOR”  SCHEDULE (All times ET/PT)

DATE                                                              EPISODE

Wednesday, Oct. 10 (8:00-10:00 PM)           Boot Camp, Conclusion /Judges’ Homes

Thursday, Oct. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM)                 Judges’ Homes

Wednesday, Oct. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM)           Judges’ Homes

Thursday, Oct. 18                                           Preempted (due to MLB World Series)

Wednesday, Oct. 24                                       Preempted (due to MLB World Series)

Thursday, Oct. 25                                           Preempted (due to MLB World Series)

Wednesday, Oct. 31                                       Preempted (due to MLB World Series)

Thursday, Nov. 1 (8:00-10:00 PM)                Live Two-Hour Episode

Sunday, Nov. 4 (8:00-10:00 PM)                   Live Two-Hour Episode (Special Sunday Airing)