This Sunday, MTV aired its 24th annual Video Music Awards. The show itself was heavily revamped, dropping a ton of its usual categories and focusing more on live musical performances and general drunken debauchery. For me, it was noteworthy above all because it opened with something of a comeback performance from Britney Spears, who has been missing from the music scene for the past few years, so she could marry some deadbeat, have two kids, and embarrass herself daily on the tabloids. So I was very excited to see this performance. I was always a big fan of Britney back in the day. Not because I felt she had any kind of noteworthy vocal talent, but because her songs were always very poppy and catchy, and she always looked phenomenal performing them.
So I watched the show and I really enjoyed it. But it seems that everyone else on the planet disagrees with me, and in fact considers the performance an unmitigated catastrophe. I was appalled as I sifted through countless news articles, all of them reporting on what a complete failure it was, as if it weren't even a matter of opinion. Sheila Marikar of ABC News painted the performance as a hapless sleepwalk, citing such accredited sources as gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Even the late night hosts all made sure to get in their licks. I only watched Conan and Letterman (whose Top Ten List for the night simply consisted of Britney Spears Excuses). AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle wrote an article about how both her performance and the VMAs overall were sub-par, but at least his choice of words remained for the most part concrete and unbiased. Which is more than I can say for AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody. She heaped praise on the show itself while shitting all over Britney. Hers is the article I'll be focusing on in this entry, because it best embodies the type of virulent prattle I'm talking about.
As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded on MTV's Video Music Awards. 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, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance.
Let me go through this point-by-point.
The lip-synching. Britney Spears always lip-synchs. And it's not always perfect-- she just always moved too fast for us to notice. But just because she's not breaking her back with the kind of choreography she usually prepares doesn't mean she can't choose to pre-record her vocals. People are always so disgusted by this, like it's not her voice we hear playing back. Go back and watch her old performances. The only times Britney doesn't lip-synch are when she's sitting on a stool next to a piano. Was anyone expecting an out-of-practice mother of two to just open the VMAs by busting out with a fucking aria?
The "lethargic movements." It seemed to me that she was quite deliberately strutting around in a very bold and governing swagger. That kind of loose yet controlled movement can be a million times sexier than some over-the-top showy carnival of spastic dance moves. And the way she played back and forth between her unpredictable sashaying and the minimalist choreography with her dancers went a long way in holding at least my attention.
The "paunch." I am physically repulsed that someone would actually say this in a criticism of Britney's performance. Her PAUNCH? Hey, Nekesa Mumbi Moody. Go fuck yourself, and your name. I applaud every inch of Britney's body. As admittedly more full-figured than usual as it was, she was still one of the most magnificent displays the world saw that night. God forbid the nation should be forced to look at a female body that's not the picture of anorexia. How terrible to have to see a gyrating set of beautiful tan curves. And the way she so openly bared her flesh most definitely served to the advantage of the authoritative attitude in her aforementioned swagger. The outfit itself was almost certainly a tribute to Britney's hero, Madonna.
I'm just so sick of seeing all these malignant articles with nothing but venom for Britney. I've never felt that my own thoughts on something so subjective could be so categorically contradicted by mere word of mouth. I say let's worry less about Britney's flaws and maybe worry more about printing Nekesa Mumbi Moody's bitter insecurities under the banner of news.
The only part of the performance I wasn't totally crazy about was the song itself, which was Britney's new single, "Gimme More." But then, her songs usually tend to grow on me.