A few days ago on September 9th, my friend Rudy asked me to watch MTV's annual Video Music Awards broadcast with him. Though I usually ignore MTV in favor of watching "Top Chef" reruns and videos on YouTube without being pestered by Kristin Cavallari, I agreed to check it out: Britney Spears was to be its opening act.
At nine o'clock that evening, Rudy and I plopped down on my couch to see Britney perform her new single "Gimme More." We thought she would deliver a hot, VMA-fabulous performance that would remind us of her flesh-toned bodysuit and Madonna makeout session. We believed she would step away from her troubled remarks about her children, her head-shaving stunt, her gum-chomping interview with Matt Lauer... and her rehab stint... and her car seat incident... and the entire season of Chaotic.
By 9:01, Britney proved us wrong.
Live from Las Vegas, from MTV's spanking-new venue in the Palms Hotel, Rudy and I watched Britney choke. She appeared uncoordinated, as well as unable to perform. As we saw Britney's backup dancers energetically strut and fly to her new single's flirty, sexy beat, she trudged. She teetered. She didn't seem to remember the incredibly uncomplicated chorus of "Gimme More" and barely lip-synched to her own pre-recorded voice.
Immediately, Rudy screeched, "Is she drunk?"
Horrified, Rudy and I stared at the bleary and befuddled-looking Britney. As we did, we noticed that she looked as though she had knocked too many shots with Diddy the night before and taken too much Xanax; she didn't even seem to give a flying fuck about her weave's hooks peeking from her scalp. The ex-Mrs. K-Fed also seemed totally unaware of how terrible she looked in her performance getup—a sequined bra and teeny pair of hot pants ill-suited for post-pregnancy midsections, thunder thighs, alco-bloat, and high-definition broadcasts alike.
"She looks like a sack of protoplasm!" I yelped.
As Britney slogged through the rest of her lethargic performance, Rudy and I then noticed MTV's selective-looking editing. Where they once highlighted her stomach during her previous performances, we saw that they kept their close-ups away from her midsection. Every time Britney bent over, wobbled, or looked awful, they cut away from her and featured anything or anyone else—backup dancers, the onstage video screen, the house band, and celebrities. But, when we noticed a close-up of 50 Cent's thoroughly gobsmacked expression for two seconds, MTV's editors promptly cut away from him too.
"Whoa," I said. "Even Fitty didn't close his mouth."
Minutes after Spears thunked offstage, Rudy and I watched yenta-gone-bad Sarah Silverman launch her Britney-barbed monologue with impending doom. We winced when the typically sharp comedienne said Britney was finished doing everything she would ever do at the age of 25, and felt even worse when she labeled Spears' children as the most adorable mistakes to ever come out of their mom's "cute", gone-commando-with-Paris location. But, when the Jewish snowflake capped off her vagina monologue by pulling her own lips to demonstrate Spears' anatomy, we became totally appalled—and audience members like Jamie Foxx roared.
"Oh my God, her career is so over," Rudy declared.
As the Video Music Awards continued to feature Justin Timberlake performing with 50 Cent and Timbaland, Britney's listless opening performance remained stuck in our heads. But, as Timberlake won awards, jumped around with fans, won more awards, and yelled at MTV to play more damn videos, Rudy and I noticed the divergent differences between the once-involved Mouseketeers. One had attained fantastic heights since writing "Cry Me a River" and was celebrating every nanosecond possible, while the other looked cracked out from tackling "My Prerogative" and oblivious to how running to Bobby Brown worked out for Whitney Houston.
"Damn. There's Britney. And, there's Justin." I said.
When just about every single written, Internet, and televised news source possible fried Britney's performance the following day, Rudy and I reluctantly agreed. We both liked "Gimme More", but thought "Britney Bombs: Lard & Clear at the VMA's" was a pretty accurate sentiment. She looked bipolar in a bad Winona Ryder way and exhausted a la Lohan; we wanted to believe otherwise, but she seemed prepared to go barefoot in a gas station bathroom, or to spill a bagful of anti-depressants and diet pills in an aiport. In full view of the press. With plumber's crack.
"Where the fuck are her handlers?" asked Rudy. "She's got people who are supposed to prevent this kind of shit."
"It doesn't look like she's listening to any of them," I replied.
He frowned, then added, "I can't believe K-Fed looks like the good guy."
I remembered that I once took potshots at Mr. FedEx himself, and mumbled, "No shit."
After the tsunami of bad press that followed, Rudy and I didn't know how to keep cheering for our once-charming train wreck. We loved the little lady since she danced like a ho in her MTV debut, but Britney hadn't snapped out of Post Traumatic K-Fed Syndrome; instead, she had committed a massive "oops" on the very same network in front of millions watching. We wished we didn't see anything kosher in Sarah Silverman's rubbery mouth, but the seemingly toxic, crazy Spears had surpassed Paris, Nicole, and Lindsay as a leader of the free world's young, dumb, and disaster-prone. We never forgot how her "I'm A Slave 4 U" VMA performance with a python inspired us to play with a few on our own.
But, we groaned. Again.
An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.
ABOUT ALEX B
more about alex b
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
9.14.07 @ 4:37a
Some extra supplementary reading material:
American Idol's Advice for Britney
Is Britney Spears Down For the Count?
Can Britney Come Back From This?
9.14.07 @ 6:53a
She's a girl who just makes poor chioces, like the song from Oklahoma she's obviously a girl who can't say no. She saw an outfit that required some body sculpturing before wearing it, threw it on and then danced like a drunken amateur looking for a pole in a go go bar.
The song itself wasn't bad. The look of drunken deer in the headlights she wore throughout the number was pathetic. Perhaps she didn't listen to her handlers, but the fact that an adult has handlers is another sad subject I won't go off on here.
There is so much I want to say about Britney, Paris, Lindsey, and multitude of others throughout history who've burned out, melted down, exploded, or lost all common sense, but that is for another time. I'll just sum it up by saying, you can take the tramp out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the girl.
I know, I'm not being PC toward those who live in trailer parks. What can i say? At least I'm not dancing in a bikini on cable television.
9.14.07 @ 8:36a
Since Lexy knows I'm a celebrity gossip whore, as of approximately 7:30 this morning (when I came into work) there was buzz of Ms. Spears apologizing on the Emmys for the fiasco. If she's even a tiny bit smart, she'll do it and move on.
9.14.07 @ 10:34a
Huh. I'd heard rumors, but I hadn't seen it until now. Wow, that was awful. To quote the text message my friend sent me as she watched it live, "Wow. I have more energy when I'm singing in my car."
9.14.07 @ 2:34p
It's bad. It's so bad. As a matter of fact, it's so bad that I'm starting to think it might have been orchestrated on purpose to garner the absolute maximum of attention. Because there's backlash to the bad reviews now, and Britney's getting a lot of sympathy.
If she'd done well there wouldn't have been much of a story, is all I'm saying.
9.14.07 @ 4:10p
Jael, I'm not sure she planned to perform so terribly, but Kanye West now says MTV exploited Britney for the sake of ratings and had her go ahead, even though she wasn't ready.
Hey Juanita! Yes, the girl has a possible offer to appear on the Emmys. Hopefully she does receive some sympathy, but first things first- I hope she perform well again and gets her head out of wherever it is-- trailer park, soaked in a pool of Grey Goose bottle service, or just plain down in the dumps.
9.14.07 @ 4:25p
You know, I just feel sorry for the girl. She's been through so much and she's the mother of 2, and constantly being criticised for how she is as a mother. She's perhaps too crazy now to be a good role model for her children, but pardon my freudian moment... that's probably because of the media and the public saying s*** about her every step she took! She probably just had it and said "You want bad mother? I'll show you bad mother." That makes her warped, I know, but her marriage to K-Fed, us and the media set it off. I mean, she was constantly with her son for a time, and I think that's more than I can say for a lot of mothers out there who drop their kids off at daycare and max out their credit cards on the 4th of freakin' July so they don't have to deal with them.
Her performance was pretty bad, I will admit, however.
9.14.07 @ 5:48p
Hiya Reem, I feel sorry for Britney too, but it's difficult for me to feel sorry for someone who exercises bad judgment time and time again. There are artists out there in her own age range-- Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson-- and where Simpson purposely played a ditz effortlessly, none of them have flubbed on MTV and given audiences definitive proof of how they're messing up. Sure, the girl had a crappy marriage, but she's the one who jumped in it and coped with it by employing some fairly crappy judgment too, and I wonder where her common sense is- just like millions of others.
9.14.07 @ 6:39p
What are the odds it was an Andy-Kaufman-esque stunt? A change of personality? Pretty, uh, "slim," considering she doesn't seem the type to pull a self-deprecating Mighty Mouse meta-prank on her fans.
9.14.07 @ 6:50p
Ken, those are some mighty "skinny" odds. I think Brit was kinda taking this performance "seriously." But, I'll put money on change of personality anyway.
9.14.07 @ 7:36p
Crazy Britney Fan Speaks Out
9.14.07 @ 7:44p
Damn, that's a disturbing video.
9.14.07 @ 8:42p
That was pretty interesting. But I guess some people are pretty emotional when it comes to their "idols".
9.14.07 @ 11:49p
Wow! So sad when the prozac supply runs out.
9.15.07 @ 5:55p
Jeez. In this day and age, when somebody fucks up on a colossal level, the fans can really be affected- and even use the Internet to show off how disturbed they feel. Fascinating.
9.16.07 @ 3:44p
You leave that Crazy Britney Spears Fan Alone, I mean it! Leave her alo-- *sob* Leave her alone or you answer TO ME! For Real. She's been through enough! *sob*
9.16.07 @ 11:28p
*standing ovation for Maigen* Priceless!
9.16.07 @ 11:44p
*Imagines YouTube vision of sobbing, spluttering, Lithium-lacking Maigen.*
*Makes Spock hand.*
9.17.07 @ 1:42a
Hmmm. Apparently, Ken Paves quit before doing Britney's hair at the VMA's- wonder what kind of fit she pitched for that to happen, and no wonder her hair looked awful.
9.17.07 @ 2:04a
I understood the the Britney Fan was a guy. At least ABC World News Now reported it as a male fan.