Britney bombs VMA performance, continues to break hearts

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September 14, 2007

4:52 AM

Britney, Britney, Britney. What happened?

p. What happened to that virginal Catholic school girl? That sultry space vixen? That snake-wielding Glamazon? Where did that look-but-don’t-touch girl run off to?

p. In case you missed it, Britney Spears’ performance opening last Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards was nothing short of a complete and utter disaster — a train wreck whose schadenfreude readings were off the charts.

p. Britney tried to prove that she could pull off a high-energy dance number even after spending the night on the Vegas Strip, arriving late for her rehearsal, sloshing down a few frozen margaritas and firing her hair stylist. Instead, the result was guilty pleasure at its guiltiest. And true to form, I couldn’t peel my eyes away.

p. As Britney stumbled her way through the debut performance of “Gimme More,” I couldn’t help but ponder a few questions: How did she forget the words to her own song? Were there more dance moves that maybe she just forgot? How many crotch and boob grabs is too many?

p. The whole spectacle was more than just a little sad. I couldn’t help but feel a bit of compassion for the embattled teeny-bopper. After all, she finally has to come to grips with the fact that maybe the days when her innovative song-writers could carry her through a lackluster performance are finally over.

p. You still have to question the decisions made here. Britney looked like that kid who forgot that her half-of-the-final-grade project was due that night. I can imagine her backstage, hurriedly running through her dance moves trying to avoid a complete catastrophe. Oops.

p. The best parts of the performance were the cutaways to bewildered celebrities in the crowd. 50 Cent had his WTF face down pat. Diddy was thinking how Britney would totally be cut if she were on “Making the Band.” Meanwhile, Rihanna just giggled as if she didn’t realize that maybe, just maybe, she might be looking into her own future.

p. But as I wondered if perhaps the sparkly bra and hot pants were not the best choice for a now two-time mom whose body image is constantly being scrutinized, I began to recognize the irony of the situation. MTV is a highly polished network. Everything is glamorized, and here’s little ol’ Britney, out of shape, sporting rat fur hair extensions and looking as if she can’t really walk and shimmy at the same time without concerted effort.

p. I won’t go as far as to give Britney props for planning it this way. Let’s be reasonable. But in an age when “reality” can be found only on TV, Britney was the most real person on that stage, and she was as white trash as ever. As cringe-worthy as her botched synch and dance routine was, I took from it a very heart-warming message: Suck it, MTV.

p. The saddest thing is that, in the back of my mind, I secretly thought Britney would pull it off. It wouldn’t matter that she’s shown the world her cooch this year. Or that she’s quickly on her way to Lohanville with Paris on the horizon. It’s not as if there are any negative consequences of Britney’s lifestyle, right?

p. Looking back, though, I’m actually kind of happy that Britney failed so miserably. She had to realize at some point that it just wasn’t going to work, but at least she still went out there, gave it her half-hearted best and gave the masses something to clamor about. It’s called professionalism, people.

p. Then there’s always the fact that it was the most interesting thing I’ve seen on MTV in a long time.

p. Face it, we shouldn’t be surprised. This truly is Britney, bitch. And, to borrow a line, this is what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

__Chase Johnson is a senior at the College. He can’t help but wonder which of Britney’s dancers is the next Mr. Spears.__

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