Britney Spears and the MTV Video Music Awards have a history of putting out show-stopping performances, be it Britney Spears writhing with a snake or Britney Spears getting off with old ladies with tongues.
So the news that Britney Spears was going to seal her comeback to the musical scene after a tumultuous few years by opening yesterday's MTV VMAs was greeted with all sorts of heady anticipation – just how would Britney Spears manage to create an MTV show-stopper this year? As it turned out, Britney decided this would be best achieved by donning a skimpy outfit that best showed off her twice-pregnant gut and then lurching around miming her new single while dancing like your Dad at the end of a wedding reception. But, hey, let's not knock Britney Spears – technically her MTV VMA performance was a show-stopper, in that people felt so ill afterwards that they just wished the show would stop. We have the video to prove it, too.
It's hard to overstate just how important Britney Spears's performance at yesterday's MTV VMA awards were to both Britney Spears and MTV. MTV – now exclusively devoted to My Super Sweet 16 and documentaries about how appalling Jodie Marsh is – needed a spellbinding Britney Spears performance to grab headlines and remind everyone that it's a music station, while Britney Spears needed to play a blinder at the VMAs because she'd become even more of a joke than ever; not bad going for someone who once wore a red pleather catsuit in a non-ironic way.
By now you know all the nonsense that's happened to Britney Spears since she last had a hit – the accidental pregnancies, the divorce from Kevin Federline, the accusations of child abuse, the geysers of high-pressure red-hot vomit, the bald head, the Antichrist, the public access to her vagina – so yesterday's performance at the MTV VMAs was Britney Spears' time to show the world that beneath her nylon wig beat the heart of a true musical genius. Except it didn't exactly happen like that.
Perhaps because Britney Spears knew that MTV would be short of one staggering, barely coherent dimwit after Amy Winehouse cancelled her performance, Britney Spears decided to use her MTV VMA opening performance to treat the world to a display of some first-class half-hearted choreography, belief-defyingly amateurish miming and unsuitable costumes that even managed to make 50 Cent look all confused. Take a look…
And now Britney Spears has to face the blanket critical disdain that her lousy MTV VMA performance has seen her receive. Like this, from The Washington Post:
As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded. There was just so much that went wrong. Out-of-synch lip-synching. Lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home. The paunch in place of Spears' once-taut belly. At times she just stopped singing altogether, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance… "It definitely could have been a lot better," the hitmaking singer and producer Akon commented afterward. "She seemed nervous … you could tell by the expression on her face. Instead of just blocking everybody out and doing her thing, you could tell she was thinking about it."
It's honestly hard to know what to make of Britney Spears' MTV VMA performance – wasn't Criss Angel supposed to be involved somewhere? Wasn't that why Britney kept hanging around him last week? Honestly, what could Criss Angel's contribution to that car crash of a performance possibly have been? Did he tell her not to bother learning all the words to her new song? Did he help her pick the outfit that'd offend the most people? At any point in time, did Criss Angel ever say to Britney Spears "No Britney, try to make your eyes look even more cold and dead. Like an inexpensive prostitute, that's right"?
Where Britney Spears goes from here is anybody's guess. Remember, though, that she still earns way more than you – so perhaps Britney Spears can go and live a life of comfortable semi-retirement where she can cover herself in shit in private without ever having to do anything as difficult as singing a song with her own voice or looking like she knows what's going on in public.
As for the rest of the MTV VMA awards, leading VMA nominee Justin Timberlake scooped a couple of awards and Beyonce only won one – for her duet with Shakira – but she would have won more if there'd been an MTV VMA category for painful accidents. Oh, who are we kidding – Britney Spears would have won that award hands-down.