Over the past two weeks, there was much uncertainty surrounding Britney’s ballyhooed VMA performance in Vegas: Was Criss Angel masterminding the spectacle? Would she duet with Justin? Would she remember what night it was? But one thing seemed agreed upon by all: This was positively a make-or-break moment, carrying on its shoulders nothing less than a fading starlet’s future and all the possibilities for public ridicule that might come with it.
Well, maybe not agreed upon by all. Too lazy or addled to even smirk convincingly, Britney sleep-gyrated through “Gimme More,” and thus taught us all an important lesson: Why the fuck are we so worried about her career or her future if she isn’t? I mean, it seems a bit absurd to peg a single performance (in which the objective is to merely look as if one might be singing) as the be-all-end-all to a life that clearly has much bigger karmic fish to fry. We should have known that.
But Britney — she knew. She was grounded enough to not get sucked into the ridiculous hype. Or to even care in the slightest. Maybe it’s all part of a grand strategy to lower expectations so dramatically that just appearing in public standing under her own power will be greeted with hosannas and hugs. Or maybe she just wants all this to be over so she can get a job hostessing at a Ruby Tuesday in Gatlinburg. But if the performance was really a disaster, it’s our disaster, not hers.
We have much to learn from this one. STEVE KANDELL