“The X Factor” creator and Supreme Mentor Simon Cowell, looking to gin up a larger audience for his singing competition (which is getting its clock cleaned this fall by NBC’s singing competition “The Voice”) left open the possibility of a Britney Spears meltdown this week when the show begins its live episodes.

“She’s been a lot better than everybody thought,” Cowell said on a phone conference call Tuesday afternoon, in re Britbrit as one of this season’s new judge/mentors, adding, tantalizingly,  “I don’t know what she’s going to be like on a live show.”

“I don’t know how she’s going to cope with that [live] part -- but I think she’s very excited.”

 One reporter on the call wanted to know if Cowell planned to “address” Hurricane Sandy on the show, which, as we noted earlier, is a singing competition.

 Simon was more interested in chastising Americans (he’s a Brit) for their insistence on giving hurricanes “friendly” names.

 “ ‘Hurricane Sandy’ – you’d think some nice friendly thing is coming along. They should be called horrible names, because they kill people. We should start a petition to stop that,” Simon said, seriously.

 “Do you have anything specifically you want to say to people on the east coast,” a reporter followed up.

 “Stay strong, be safe and I hope the storm blows off as quickly as possible,” Simon guessed. That seemed to satisfy the reporters and they stopped with that line of questioning.

 Instead they moved on to a press report that this season’s X-testants had been told they absolutely, positively could not bite each other – and the call was back on track.

 Until, that is, one reporter asked Cowell if he’d extended an invitation to President Obama to appear on the show.

 Which, to recap, is – still a singing competition.

 “They could both come on, and duet together,” Simon responded, presumably referring to Obama and his GOP rival Mitt Romney.

 “They can make up their differences, sing a song together. Music is the great healer and they will be welcome any week to do that.

 “Alternatively, we will take just one.”