updated 07/10/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/10/2012 AT 12:25 PM ET
During Monday’s auditions in Greensboro, N.C., Spears stormed off the set as a man, dressed partially as a woman, rocked through one of her hits, “(You Drive Me) Crazy.”
Spears, 30, looked stunned throughout the performance, as fellow judge L.A. Reid patted her on the back. Judges Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell also couldn’t contain their reactions, as they covered their faces with their hands.
And neither could the crowd – but they seemed to be instant fans of the audition.