MTV's Video Music Awards have been the site of Britney Spears' greatest triumphs (Madonna make-out! Sexy snake dance!) and one of her most calamitous disasters (this). But since both Good Britney and Bad Britney bring MTV comically massive ratings, the network will do anything to get Spears to show up. In 2008, they let her win three awards for a video that straight-up sucked, just to get her to come have a "triumphant" moment there. In 2009, MTV used Spears in VMAs promos with Russell Brand even though she couldn't attend and gave her seven (!) nominations and a Best Pop Video victory for "Womanizer" (she thanked MTV for the "so freakin' cool" honor from the road). In 2010, the VMAs squeezed plenty of controversy out of Lady Gaga's jerky gown, but this year they have the potential of bringing both Britney and Gaga (and Beyoncé!) to their show, which is taking place August 28th in Los Angeles. Both ladies will have albums to promote. Both ladies will likely perform.
This. Will be interesting.
MTV has been treating Britney like an injured koala, failing to report on her missteps while overstating her minor victories -- perhaps we missed the moment she was stealing hearts during her GMA appearance because we were too busy watching her dance poorly. During the first 12 days of April alone, MTV News has run 30 stories on Britney. Their "I Am the Femme Fatale" special was a half-hour fluff piece that actually included footage of Spears drinking coffee in Starbucks and questions from Sway about that time she sat and drank coffee in Starbucks.
Britney didn't perform at the Grammys because her team knew she was in no way ready to take such an important stage in February (approximately 26 million people watch the Grammys; 11 million tune in to the VMAs). But she'll be done with her 26-date Femme Fatale tour by the VMAs. She's going to have to perform. And she's going to have to perform on the same stage as Lady Gaga, who is in such fighting shape she can fall off her piano and keep on singing.
Femme Fatale is an awesome album, but making an album is only half the equation -- and it's the half that's done behind closed doors, where nobody can actually see how the sausage is made. If Spears can get her act together by August 28th and blow us all away, we'll know she really wants to be doing this for a living and not "Or maybe just doing nothing, I don't know," which is what she told Sway when he asked if she hopes to be singing and dancing at age 50.
- Britney Spears