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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 09/12/2007

Who's to Blame for Brit's Belly Flop?

By Liz Kelly

Spears performs at Sunday night's VMAs. (AP)

After getting burned with yesterday's sweet little paean to Jane Wyman (who knew?), we boomerang back into the land of teetering starlets with a neat little ethical puzzler courtesy of one Kanye West.

Despite the fact that West has a chronic case of being a whiny baby who'd do better to keep quiet and continue making money, he inadvertently dropped some wisdom following Sunday's slo-mo career-killing Britney Spears performance:

"Man, they [MTV] were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn't ready and they exploited her."

Sincere or not (he went on to say he should have opened the show with his single "Stronger"), Kanye is the only one calling MTV on the carpet for booking Brit, who has hardly given any indication that she was ready to deliver a stellar performance. In retrospect, how could anyone -- most of all MTV execs who recognize good old must-see TV ("The Hills") when they see it -- have expected anything less than the jaw-dropping self-immolation Brit delivered Sunday night? Maybe the only one who saw a different outcome was Spears herself, who was Punk'd in the biggest way. I wouldn't be surprised to learn Ashton Kutcher awaited her backstage to let her know she was the victim of the MacDaddy of pranks.

The question is, do we agree with Kanye? Did MTV knowingly set Britney up for a ratings-rich fall?

On the one side, Spears has been in this business for over a decade now and is a three-time veteran VMA performer. She knew the risk she was taking and, if played right, this really could've re-ignited her career. But Brit apparently made every possible wrong move leading up to Sunday night's debacle. She (some say) showed up with a drink in her hand hours late for a Saturday rehearsal, rejected a more modest costume saying it wasn't "sexy" enough and partied until dawn the morning of the show. During the performance, she clopped around the stage half-heartedly and even stopped lip-synching at some points. Then, following the show, she partied more and made her nether regions available for yet more NSFW photos.

On the other side, we have a cable network facing a years-long slide in viewership of their flagship awards show. What better way to build buzz than by booking tabloid darling Britney Spears, whose previous 2007 highlights include a stint in rehab, a shaved head and -- most recently -- backside-baring outfits. And based on Spears's rocky forays into performing at the House of Blues earlier this summer, it was obvious she was nowehere near ready to face a room full of her peers and a worldwide audience.

In the hour-long pre-show, MTV's veejays were clearly tasked with whipping us into a frenzy ahead of Brit's performance. Every interviewee was asked about Spears (thank god we had Dave Grohl and Nelly Furtado's pre-game quarterbacking). MTV knew what it was doing and got an exponential return on its speculative bet. But, again, are they to blame? After all, as E!'s Giuliana Rancic said, "If you're MTV and you get a phone call saying, 'Britney's confirmed, she's gonna open,' you're gonna say, 'Yes.' So, of course MTV jumped at this."

Either way, Sunday's performance is likely more damaging to Spears than all the impromptu head-shaving, candid pix and K-Fed custody battles that came before. Despite the erratic behavior and unfortunate photo ops, the outside chance that Brit could trump it all by making a promising return to her pop roots always remained magically possible. Now that too is gone.

Did MTV take unfair advantage of Britney Spears by allowing her to perform at Sunday night's VMAs? Share your take on this.

By Liz Kelly  | September 12, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Britney Spears, Celebrities, TV  
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I would lay a great deal of the blame on both MTV and Britney's management, though she does get some for phoning in a performance and a poor wardrobe choice. If they were really serious about getting a solid Britney comeback, they should have offered her a spot in the New Year's lineup. That would have given her time to get her act polished and would be about the right timeframe for her next single. What they wanted was eyes glued to the TV for the likely inevitable trainwreck.

It sounds like what Britney needs is a "sober companion" and nanny: someone who can help with the kids, cut down the booze supply, fire the parasites, check the wardrobe for possible malfunctions, and occasionally spritz the papparazzi with a garden hose or spray bottle to make them back off. (Just water -- nothing damaging, but enough to get a Pavlovian response. Hmm, it should likely include a budget for replacing water-damaged cameras -- no need for extra litigation to make everything worse.)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | September 12, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Unfair advantage"? Heck, no, she's Britney Spears - she's got publicists, stylists, handlers and managers. She's got hangers-on, yes-men and enablers. She's got a posse (which we all saw when she climber out of that car).

In short, her JOB - the career she built for herself, is to be famous. It's not like she's the slow kid at high school who gets picked on by the bullies.

No pity.

Also, Liz: it's "paean." (As in, "That byoolin - what a paean in the a** he is.)

And I'm sorry you felt slammed re Jane Wyman. It's just that celebrities figuratively dying/being killed seem to be much more interesting than celebrities being literally dead. (If it's any consolation, nobody comforted me when Slim Pickens kicked it, either. >>>)

Posted by: byoolin | September 12, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

who the hell cares about Britney Spears? The only people who seem to care are the "journalists" who keep discussing it.

Posted by: children starving to death the world over | September 12, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I haven't watched a VMA in a few years and I tuned in to see her. I was hoping that she'd do well, but it was just so painful. She clearly wasn't ready. So what about her "people"? I mean, considering all she's been through the past year, who the heck would think that her doing this wss going to be a good thing? She needs to fire her mgmt team. Can't really blame MTV too much--they're a network interested in money and ratings. Imagine what would have happened to the exec who had a crisis of conscience and pulled her act because they knew she'd fail...

Posted by: kris | September 12, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

oh, come ON. She is a PAID professional. Phoning it in is disrespectful of her audience and her fans (if she has any). This is a woman who gets paid to sing and dance. If we showed up at our jobs and did that kind of sh**** job, we'd be fired. Why do people feel sorry for her? She is still making $700K per MONTH to do crap work!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

How was MTV "unfair"? They wanted ratings, and they got it. Heck, they actually took a risk. If Brit put on a decent show, no one would have given a crap, and no one would still be talking about the VMAs. Instead, Brit gave them a train wreck and everyone's talking about the relevance of MTV.

I don't understand how Brit was somehow "exploited." Probably every other performer (whether drunk or sober) would have wanted their name on the marquee and wanted to open the show like Brit did. Was Amy Whinehouse exploited when she recently performed -- without embarrassing herself -- at a European awards show?

The people who are exploiting Britney are her "friends" and other hangers-on who are letting herself self-destruct, not MTV. MTV did her a favor, and she blew it.

Posted by: Jim E. | September 12, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me she got a great opportunity and blew it.

Posted by: Angela | September 12, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The person who is really to blame is Britney herself. She is an adult, and needs to take responsibility for her actions, and for her career. It's up to her to (a) want to get sober (b) actually get sober (c) fire or otherwise lose the people giving her bad advice and (d) figure out how to move forward.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

MTV executives had to know that Britney's rehearsals were not going well. Her partying in Vegas was on detailed on TMZ and other blogs. What MTV should have done is let Chris Brown open the show and put Britney in one of the party suites. In a smaller setting with no big production number, she might not have looked so bad.

Posted by: Lisa1 | September 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

For MTV, right or wrong, Britney's performance was a win-win situation. Success or disaster, the network gets a ratings blitz with continuing waves of publicity. I think it would be difficult - and potentially foolish - for any television exec to say no to that. You can argue some level of social responsibility, but this is a grown woman who had done the show several times and knew what she was getting into.

As for the people that jump to poor, exploited Britney's defense, if she's going to "raise" two children, she ought to have solid enough judgment to determine she was not ready for such a dramatic step.

If she could keep an employee long enough to fill out a W2, perhaps she would have gotten some honest advice instead of spoon-fed false confidence.

Posted by: KatyDC | September 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

if MTV had yanked her, she no doubt would have sued them for breach of contract.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe that many media organizations make it their business to exploit and make fun of celebrities on their downward slide. This is the source for much humor on Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show, and lots of really well-written funny stuff. However I think MTV crossed the line by not satirizing Brittney, but instead attacking Brittney the person. This was a comedy bit that MTV pulled for ratings.

Make fun of the persona, fine, but don't humiliate the individual when they're right there in front of you. That's a cultural step back to Carnival freak shows, the Bedlam mental hospital, and Roman gladiators.

Brittney was exploited. No one here has made a rational argument otherwise.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

isn't it a miracle that she just got through the routine? i'd actually say she got better as it went along. by no means was her performance actually good, but given her recent behavior, would anyone have been surprized if she had just quit after screwing up in the beginning?

Posted by: in defense of britney? | September 12, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Paen"? I don't think so.

Apart from that, wonderful piece, as was the piece on Jane Wyman, RIP.

Posted by: blaneyboy | September 12, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

You reap what you sow. Britney needs to take responsibility for her own actions. MTV does not feed her all the booze and drugs, nor do they neglect her children and send her out in public without underwear. They don't force her to go clubbing until the wee hours every morning, either. I think MTV did her a favor, maybe if her career is tanked, she can fade off into oblivion and take care or her poor children. Britney is a big girl and should have to deal with the consequences of her choices just like you or I would have to!

Posted by: BLH | September 12, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

But it's not a career she built for herself! Nobody has the career she had in her teens without someone else to drive it. Having only modest talent, her career was made on less than modest costuming. And someone who should have been taking care of her and fostering and accepting a normal adolescence was pushing their own dreams, doubtless with her immature and enthusiastic compliance. So now she gets the adolescence she should have had at 14-- out of control body, angry rebellion and all. 10 years late, in the spotlight and with two kids. I wouldn't be 14 again for anything. At least it was over by the time I was 20. At least nobody was interested. At least I could start over at college, where nobody knew me. MTV knew they came out ahead if she did well or flamed out. They get the buzz either way. I can only pity her.

Posted by: notthatIcarebut | September 12, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Giuliana Rancic on this one.

At what point is Britney responsible for what Britney does? From the looks of it she didn't bother to learn the words to her own song. She rejected one outfit because it wasn't sexy enough. She apparently didn't show up to practice. I agree MTV probably hoped for a wreck but unless they were whispering in her ear not to practice, not to learn the words, go to as many parties as possible and wear something that will not be flattering. Britney is to blame. I do not feel sorry for her.

Posted by: petal | September 12, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Is it MTV's responsibility to make sure a grown woman is "ready" to honor her commitment? Give me a break. Britney needs to lose her kids and spend some time locked up!!

Posted by: Hubert | September 12, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Is it MTV's responsibility to make sure a grown woman is "ready" to honor her commitment? Give me a break. Britney needs to lose her kids and spend some time locked up!!

Posted by: Hubert | September 12, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

MTV did exactly what any corporate media entity would do...they got a scoop and they ran with it.

Since they helped create the teen sex goddess, how could they help but offer the single (Baby One More Time?) that proved without a doubt that the Lolita with the dance moves had reverted to her white trash roots, and hatched a couple of spawn with a roaming baby-making machine of a husband.

Unless the world had been shown the proof that she had officially morphed into Anna Nicole Smith, no one would have truly believed it.

Thanks MTV! The dream is officially over.

Posted by: filmex | September 12, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

It is pretty sad that when her body goes and she forgets how to lip synch, we see what a talentless product of clever production she was. The woman cannot sing. She uses the breathy, talky trick to cover that up. She ought to listen to Christina Aguilera, or Eva Cassidy, or Sarah McLaughlin, realize all she had to sell was her phony sexuality, and quietly retire.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop absolving the celebrity train wrecks of any personal responsibility in their own lives? Yes, Brit was exploited and controlled from a young age. Yes, her people should have known better. Yes, MTV is in business to make money and will take advantage of the ill-advised and unthinking.

But the only person who can change any of those things is Britney herself. Grow up. Find better "people." Rehearse. Stop drinking so much. But mostly, grow up.

Posted by: CMC | September 12, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Whether MTV was exploiting Brit Brit for ratings or not, SHE, could have used the opportunity to show people she wasn't the chain smoking, trailer trash, negligent mother that we think she is.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I posted along these lines on the Morning Mix:

I don't get what all the hullabaloo is about. Clearly, she phoned it in (or texted it, or whatever the kids are doing these days). But so what? She wasn't so falling down drunk she couldn't do anything (see Winehouse, Amy), she's never sang her songs when she danced, so the lip-synching isn't a surprise (and it's not like Jerry Garcia always remembered all the lyrics), she didn't expose herself onstage (a la Janet Jackson or Jim Morrison - allegedly).

I just don't get where the controversy was. Someone who hasn't performed in years wasn't ready. Should she have gone onstage? Probably not. But there wasn't anything that made me think: Oh no, her career is over, she'll never make a comeback now.

Posted by: OD | September 12, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

It was depressing looking at her blank expression and dead eyes. More than her clothes choice and body (average NOT fat!), her face told the story that she was not ready. She is a grown woman and unfortunately, the resulting trainwreck is more her doing than MTV. Maybe this disaster will be a wakeup call for this young woman to get her life together. I frankly could do without seeing her stumbling out of one club to another in some hideous trailer-park outfit and a wasted look on her face.

Posted by: LABC | September 12, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

If there's one thing we know and love about Britney Spear's it is her utter and total lack of ALL personal responsibility. She keeps demonstrating it over and over again. She could have chosen to take this seriously, learn the dance routine, not stupidly drink and party for the days before the VMAs. She showed MTV & everyone involved in her 'comeback' zero respect by arriving nearly 4 hours late for her rehearsal, showing up with an alcoholic beverage in her hand and refusing to cooperate with the professionals orchestrating this thing.

But I'm sure the suits at MTV were counting on this very thing happening and knew that a tabloid obsessed world would tune in. As badly as Britney flopped the rest of the show wasn't anything to brag about either. Silly chaos with other performers not exactly sober either. Kayne West is my personal VMA hero for calling it like it was on Britney and having the masculinity to sing into a microphone that more resembled a sex toy than a mic.

Posted by: | September 12, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree that its hard to blame MTV for not turning down assured good ratings. But did they have to book Sarah Silverman to go on right after her to put the final nail in her coffin? That is definite proof that MTV knew Brit would bomb and they wanted to maximize the exposure of the failure. And that is a little tacky

Posted by: sjcpeach | September 12, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

MTV is responsible.

They could have booked any of a number of acts that would have been much better, but they booked Spears for commercial reasons.

Spears may be responsible for her behavior and lack of preparedness, but MTV is responsible for booking her.

Her chance of making a successful comeback is only slightly better than Tanya Harding's because she has more money, but it's a different page from the same book.

Who in their right mind thought she could give a performance worthy of opening the show? But any idiot could tell that it would attract viewers that would not have watched otherwise.

MTV is responsible.

Posted by: Henry | September 12, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I thought her camp was blaming Sarah Silverman for that crappy performance. Now it's MTV. Who is she gonna blame next I wonder?

Posted by: anony | September 12, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Liz, for not pointing out the irony of me correcting your misspelling when my comment had another one of my own making ("climber" should have been "climbed") in it.

And, as Brendan Behan once said, "There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary." (Mr. Behan never, to my knowledge, lip-synced any of his works, but the unfortunate publicity to which he referred did come to pass.)

Posted by: byoolin | September 12, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I kinda feel bad for Britney. Her entire life, ever since she was a kid, she has been used by the people around her whether it's her mooch parents, that metro wuss Justin Timberlake *JT, CALL ME IF YOU NEED A GARDENER*, K-Fed, the tabloids, and now MTV.

One explanation for her career downward spiral is that when compared to her competitors (Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, et. al.), they still have careers because they have actual talent. She has NEVER had any talent and got by on her manufactured image and now that the prepackaged image is gone, the chickens have come home to roost.


Posted by: JC Chasez (yes sir, you get fries with that order) | September 12, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

we dont pay attn non-trainwrecks... hell, the competition amongst trainwrecks is already fierce. There's no room for any discussion of JoJo or what the Achy-Breaky spawn was doing at Tryst...

unless - of course - there are lines of coke, a DWI, a punched photog, or a wardrobe malfunction involved.

Brit knows her audience - she's been molded into a trainwreck and she knows that this sort of behavior guarantees attention.

Want to blame someone? Blame ourselves.

Posted by: Quintilus Varus | September 12, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

MTV is responsible??? Did they hold a gun to her head and say "you must perform"? This is an adult human being who signed a contract to perform. Is someone else responsible for her getting knocked up two times and raising the children on cheetohs and soda? Good lord, this woman makes buttloads of money to perform. It is her resposibility to do her job.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that nobody's mentioned that Britney was wearing a Badgley Mischka sequined bikini. Badgley Mischka, people! It doesn't matter that it didn't fit well, or that she looked horrible in it -- it was Badgley Mischka! You're all just jealous because you don't know fashion.

Posted by: xsomewhereboyx | September 12, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The only reason Kanye cares or is weighing in on the Britney debacle (which I agree with other posters - enough excuses - she's an adult and a seasoned perfomer, but simply blew it at the end of the day) is so that he can get his name in the press just in time for his Sept. 11 album release. Same reason for his "can't a black man get a chance" BS. Shameless self-promotion on his part.

Posted by: vjl | September 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"But did they have to book Sarah Silverman to go on right after her to put the final nail in her coffin? That is definite proof that MTV knew Brit would bomb."

I see. Silverman's snark about Brit's bad performance AFTER the bad performance took place is "definite proof" of something. Uh, try again.

Posted by: Jim E. | September 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

She's have been better off claiming she had diarrhea.

Posted by: | September 12, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"But did they have to book Sarah Silverman to go on right after her to put the final nail in her coffin? That is definite proof that MTV knew Brit would bomb."

Not a Sarah Silverman fan, but it's not like she was dragging Brit from bar to bar the night before she is supposed to give the most important performance of her life.

I don't see how MTV is responsible for any of this. They are a business, they want to make money. High ratings make money.

Britney is (chronologically, anyway) an adult, and is (in theory) a professional. She wants to make money. Giving a decent performance is a way to make money. Then again, so is stripping and streetwalking.

I always figured Britney's people set up the MTV appearance as a way to promote her alleged upcoming album.

Posted by: b | September 12, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

1) yes MTV did what they did for commercial reasons - They are a BUSINESS - everything they do is for commercial reasons

2) They were able to get a win-win situation, we tuned in to watch her. If she had gotten things together, it would have been great. But it didn't

Posted by: MGC | September 12, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

No one's fault but Britney's.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, she's a big girl (age-wise, ahem), who for whatever reason, doesn't think the rules apply to her. She thinks she can drive on Rodeo Drive with her baby on her lap, for heaven's sake. She's so far gone from reality that I'm sure she really did think she could pull off a great performance without practicing.

Posted by: gwendolyn | September 12, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I am inclined to say no...MTV didn't take advantage of her...directly. If anything, Britney brought this upon herself. She should have known she wasn't ready. Her publicists and agents and whomever else she has working with her should have known. I don't even follow her music (I just follow the gossip) and I knew she wasn't ready! However, MTV probably should have known that as well. My guess is that they knew she was going to flop and did it for ratings, but it does take two to tango. Britney et al knew it was going to be a bust.

I just with people would lay off her body. Yeah, so her stomach isn't as flat as it was in her glory days, but in our anorexic-obsessed culture, someone who actually looks healthy should be applauded for baring it all. She isn't overweight. Just normal. And people who have a problem with that clearly have a problem themselves.

Posted by: mbc | September 12, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

First, I admire Liz for remembering with affection an actor of quality. Jane Wyman deserves that remembrance, and I am thankful to Liz for that. People who dissed the entry should go back to their People magazine -- wait, I'm sure there's some info in there, too. Go watch "Johnny Belinda" and see talent -- you certainly didn't see it Sunday night at the MTV awards.

Speaking of which, Britney is a big girl who can dress herself and fix her own hair and drink herself sick -- wait, let me think about that. She needs handlers. She needs a mother. She needs -- something, and not crashing on TV.

However, MTV is not her mother or her handler. You'd think someone over there could be more compassionate, but they don't have to be. Just like no one has to hold the door open for an elderly woman using a walker, too. Kindness and compassion should be valued and practiced even in the music biz.

Posted by: Chris | September 12, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

wait, what? so this is it? forever?

no way, even michael jackson came back a bunch of times!

I bet some cable channel gives her a tv show with lilo.

Posted by: not bluto | September 12, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Quit comparing her to strippers and streetwalkers. That's and insult to strippers and streetwalkers.

Posted by: Q | September 12, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

What's next, let's....BLAME CANADA!!

I say MTV should arrange a big cagefight w/Brit, Paris & Lohan, winner gets their own reality show & the downfall will then be televised!!

Posted by: Bored @ home | September 12, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

They are both at fault.

MTV could have booked any other performer to open the show. They chose Brit solely because they knew she would be a trainwreck. Everyone tuned in to see what would happen (not me I was watching football).

Britney knew she had to perform well to launch her comeback. So instead of trying her darndest, she phoned it in. When you are launching a comeback you need to be spectacular, not lethargic. Also she's had to have known what was being said about her, her pride alone should have caused her to go out there and knock their socks off, not prove them right.

Face it, nobody looks good from this.

Posted by: ep | September 12, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see the Saturday Night Live skit..who will play Britney?

Posted by: BDWESQTM | September 12, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Darryl Hammond!

Posted by: byoolin | September 12, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Britney is responsible -- but that is not the same as being to blame. She's clearly a celeb out of control for all the world to see.

But that's why we love her. For more about why MOMS love Britney (she makes us feel like a better mom than she is, pathetically) check out the Post's On Balance blog about her (

Posted by: leslie4 | September 12, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

i think it was all byoolin's fault. he's a very bad man.

Posted by: methinks | September 12, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Amen, MBC, I think she actually looked pretty good.

Posted by: HS | September 12, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if I'd been responsible for Britney's performance, I'd have made sure there was a wardrobe malfunction, too. (A little something for the guys, you know?)

Posted by: byoolin | September 12, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Clearly there is nothing awful with Brit's body. I don't think people were making fun of her pre-pregancy bod. It's just... there are better ways to dress her lovely body, to conceal the wiggly bits until she gets those abs back to their former glory. She would have looked much hotter in a corset or even in jeans and a mid-drift? She made the mistake of thinking less was sexy, when a little tiny bit more, would have been 10x sexier.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ahem, "post-pregnancy bod"

Oh and, who cares if it was badgely mishka if it was on the wrong body?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It's like, Jennifer Hudson is a great example of someone who is out there defying pressure to be extra thin. She looks hot when she wears fashions that compliment her voluptuous body, but who wants to see her in a two piece, shaking it on national televsion? She might be brave to do that, but I don't think Brit was being brave with that outfit; I just think she was mistakenly trying to pretend she was still that 18-year-old girl she used to be, but she's a Mom now, and it shows, so she should dress to fit who she is now.

I don't think Brit was being brave

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I finally saw the whole debacle on repeats last night, and, while I thought she looked just fine (sure she's bigger than she used to be, but she's still a fine, healthy, shapely woman) the performance itself was really sad in comparison to some of her previous efforts - she wasn't dancing, she was basically just walking around in vague time to the music and sorta kinda trying to lip sync. I think she and MTV are probably equally to blame - she and her people knew she wasn't ready, MTV knew she was going to be a ratings bonanza whether she fell on her face or actually did well, so either way they weren't going to tell her not to perform.

Posted by: ehh | September 12, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

isn't some of that "just walking around" criticism the choreographer's fault (assuming she didn't choreograph it herself)?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

...but who wants to see her in a two piece, shaking it on national televsion?

You'd be surprised.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I say blame everyone.

-MTV for not recognizing or not caring that their star was a walking, talking trainwreak or not carign that she is. They may be a company, but they still have some responsibility to behave enthically.

-Her label. Apparently they haven't sucked down enough money from her career, they just have to get more. I know of several artists who have had major problems with Jive/Volcano records over the years and. Exploitaton, even by record industry standards, seems to be their stock in trade.

-Britney' parents. Dumped her at age 14 into the showbiz grinder and never bothered to care about what it was doing to her until it was way too late and enjoyed every dollar they made off of it. What kind of parent lets a record label macine turn their 16 year old into an underage pseudo-porn star?

-And finally Britney herself. Awful childhood exploitation aside, she's still 25 and she needs to pull her act together. In the end she is responsible for her life and all of the partying and all of that. I just hope she never gets into really hard drugs as she'd OD in a month.

A pox on all of them.

Posted by: EricS | September 12, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Brittney has only herself to blame. She's 26 years old with 2 kids. If she can't stay sober long enough to do the job she is paid for, then she deserves to be pushed to the side as the carnival freak show her life has become. It's time for more talented performers to step forward and take her place. Besides, anonymity would probably do her some good. She obviously can't handle the glare of the spotlight.

She's no Madonna!

Posted by: esl | September 12, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Woops. Britney Spears? My bad - I thought you said *Billy Shears*.

I retract everything.

Posted by: byoolin | September 12, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I think that it is time for Britney to grow up and start acting as she should. She has 2 young children that she is responsible for. If she would stop the drinking and partying, she would be back on top where she should be.

Posted by: Buttercup | September 12, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I blame the dems, we are responsable for everything!

Posted by: loyal dem | September 12, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked and dismayed that MTV would exploit and take advantage of that delicate flower, Brit Brit!

Oh, wait a minute, I forgot . . . that's what MTV does: exploits performers and "celebrities" for profit. Just like every other media and entertainment business in the world, from networks, to record labels, to radio stations, to the Washington Post, to People magazine, to the National Enquirer, to this lil' old blog.

Oh yeah, and this "exploitation" is how performers and other celebrities like Britney, Paris Hilton, Justin Timberlake, etc. promote themselves and get rich.

Show biz is a cruel master, and it doesn't take much to go from star to joke. If Britney didn't want to be mocked, she should have acted professionally, worked on her craft and been prepared for her comeback performance rather than clomping around on stage like a drugged Clydesdale. It also probably wouldn't hurt to swear off the sauce, spend more time with her kids, and quit displaying her naughty bits in public.

Posted by: Neena | September 12, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

i blame walt disney. it was disney that dragged her out of trailer park in the first place.

Posted by: b | September 12, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

as for her weight, i don't think people are critical so much for her having some meat on her bones as for her choice of attire. a corset would have been much more flattering, yet she chose not to wear it.

Posted by: b | September 12, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I blame MTV. Everyone knows Britney is not well.

Posted by: natster | September 12, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on!!! The world is "going to h... in a hand basket", and all I see on the web news are stories about her. I agree with a previous comment, it appears the only people that are interested are the reporters! Please, can we talk about more important things!!!

Posted by: Alex | September 12, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"Oh come on!!! The world is "going to h... in a hand basket", and all I see on the web news are stories about her. I agree with a previous comment, it appears the only people that are interested are the reporters! Please, can we talk about more important things!!!"

Will someone give poster a link to an "important" news site? He took a wrong turn in Seriousnewstown and ended up in Celebritologyville.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Britney is, at minimum, 25. She is not a "girl" anymore, she is a woman with two children. I don't care that 8 years ago someone directed her career a certain way and shoved her into show business. This is now. Ever since she's been in charge of her career, it's been a disaster.

Posted by: Cork | September 12, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on!!! The world is "going to h... in a hand basket", and all I see on the web news are stories about her. I agree with a previous comment, it appears the only people that are interested are the reporters! Please, can we talk about more important things!!!

Posted by: Alex | September 12, 2007 02:53 PM

You may not want to read a celebrity gossip-based blog if you want to read "real news." Just a hint.

Posted by: Hey Alex! | September 12, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Alex, I'm on my way to Froomkin's column, why don't you join me. I bet he won't even mention Britney.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Did MTV take unfair advantage of Brittney Spears? Are you on crack or something? She's a performer and was asked to perform. That she is an inconsiderate unprofessional performer is HER fault, not MTV's. C'mon Kanye, why won't you put blame where it belongs -- on the performer who would not get ready for a performance and who refuses to be a professional. Stay off the drugs when your are asked a question and maybe you can answer in a straightforward manner.

Posted by: colorado kool aid | September 12, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

After the KFC finger wipe on the designer dress, MTV must have known where things were going.
After all, this is the era of "reality TV" and drama is what they want to show, whether it is real or manufactured.
Brit is obviously some one desperate for attention and MTV had no trouble getting her to make a fool of herself.

Posted by: POS | September 12, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Emohr | September 12, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Why would it be MTV's responsibility to make BS look good? They gave her huge publicity and an opportunity (3rd or 4th time?) most performers will never get. She was not exploited by MTV, she threw away the chance to succeed.

Who would be blaming MTV if she actually learned the dance? We adults are all responsible for our own choices.

Posted by: Kris | September 12, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

If Brit wanted to perform or wear a bikini made of glitter, no one - not even the best managers, lawyers and hangers on-ers -could stop her. She's not a child and she is not a puppet of the Disney machine. She is a vet of stage, screen (ugh) and music. There's no reason to blame this on MTV.

Besides, if MTV barred all the fragile, drunk, drugged and narcissistic performers, who would we watch on the tee vee?

Posted by: ex cap | September 12, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Last night, VH1 ran "Britney's Shocking Moments '07" which included her recent '07 VMA debacle. Less than 48 hours after the VMAs, VH1 has a show documenting her recent train wreck. Me thinks the people at Viacom (MTV/VH1) knew exactly what they were doing and got exactly what they wanted.

Posted by: Irish_Ed | September 12, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a ****? Other women with two kids should look so bad in a two-piece outfit. Britney may be a 'ho, but she's the crazy, loveable, trailer-trash 'ho next door.

Besides, if Britney had good tats, Liz would go easy on her.

Posted by: Mister Methane | September 12, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the Imus incident....where the network ignored the bad behavior as long as ratings stayed up and ad dollars rolled in (apparently nasty behavior was even in his contract). MTV seems to be willing to throw anything out there for buzz.

The train-wreck that is the new Britney Spears is only good business for MTV. It's a win-win situation for them: either she shapes up and everyone watches, or she wigs out and everyone talks about it for days. Of course BS could have said no, made different clothing choices....but the fact is she is one messed up woman! She's either still in PPD or she's got addiction issues or both. So she's a shoe-in to flub the whole thing and create big buzz for MTV - but does that mean every down-trodden starlet out there should be set up to open the show? Like I said, the theme for the VMAs was ridicule, and BS and Sarah Silverman fit right in. The artists who managed to keep their lives together had to play second-fiddle to Brit's trainwreck....hmmm, so I see where Kanye's coming from. I'm surprised more performers aren't a little miffed.

One more thought.....what if we woke up the morning after the VMAs to find the Britney had killed herself? What if that was the performance that shattered an already shaky life?

Don't get me wrong...I believe Britney's just as responsible for her actions as MTV is for putting her on, but what if the consequence of this buzz-generating act actually did some harm? Imus felt the backlask of his idiot comments, but there was a broader response to nastiness in tv. Just imagine if MTV had gone to far, what would the backlash be? They would have to return to just an awards show based on talent (or the appearance of it) or popularity, instead of who's got the biggest case of the crazies at the moment.

Posted by: Rachelt | September 12, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Her stylist quit moments before the show? I guess she will use that in her defense to dress and perform the way she did, because no one can perform without their glam squad in place. Hmph! She needs a long vacation to think about things. She is a mother now and I cannot believe she chose that outfit. Let's see how that holds up in regards to the custody battle.

Posted by: April | September 12, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I AM not a Britney fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel bad for her, especially since Sarah Silverman skewered her immediately after the performance. Talk about pouring salt on an open wound. I think MTV (and Sarah) should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Feeling bad for Brit | September 12, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Like everyone over the age of 21, BS is responsible for her own BS. Period. End of story. Now please make her go away.

Posted by: Bulldinkies | September 12, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Spears seems unable to do things that would put her in a good light, and can't stop doing things that make her look bad (and I'm not talking about her physical appearance). While it's not out of the question that MTV hoped for an on-air scandal--anything for buzz--it also can't be denied that she had the equal opportunity to mess up any possible nefarious plans by putting on a solid show. But she couldn't perform and wouldn't do the work to get ready, despite having a record to sell and a reputation to rehabilitate. She needs to figure out why she keeps sabotaging herself, and learn to stop it. Until she does, her public embarrassments will just keep getting worse.

Posted by: JanetK | September 12, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

She was amazing. I loved her laid-back approach. A brilliant FU to those with the Simon Cowell-mindset and no sense of humor.

(My name is Simon Cowell and I am soooo critical!).

Frankly, Britney has moved from pop-culture princess to becoming a high art form.

Posted by: chris franklin | September 12, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Please, MTV did not exploit her, she did this to herself. This was a win-win for MTV whether she gave the best performance of her career or the worst. If she had succeded the airwaves would have been full of news about her amazing comeback, instead, she chose to drink, party, not rehearse and not bother to learn the words to a song that only has about 15 words outside of "gimmie more". She couldn't even remember a three word line where one of words was her own name! She is a grown woman, she committed to being ready for the show and she chose not to honor that commitment and made a bloody fool of herself in the process. Enough said.

Posted by: Angel | September 12, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Just because you bigger than me, don't mean you can fight!" - Newt Turner

"...T.I. is not the King of The South. He's more like the "Mouth of the South". A cartoon character. In terms of music, he's NOW a pop tart!..I know everyone who loves T.I. will be offended by what I have to say. Some people may say I'm a hater, but what I have to say is all truth...T.I. openly admits that he lives what he says in his music. How many songs have we heard T.I. speak about how he will kill someone or how he carries pistols and how he will die for his respect? That's why I don't understand how a top ranking member of his organization is murdered and there is no retaliation. Instead, he makes a song. What does a song do for Big Phil's family? Nothing...I don't understand how he can rap on songs talking about killing imaginary niggas when his homie get's murdered and he does nothing...I can only imagnine what is going in the minds of every member of Grand Hustle. They have to know that if something happen to them, their King will do nothin got restore their honor. They will have died in vain for what they believed in... T.I. admits he feels responsible for Phil's murder. I feel it is his responsibility to restore Phil's honor and do what real kings do in a situation like this...T.I.'s cockiness and arrogant flare is extremely attractive to hip-hop fans. His fans shouldn't feel bad, he had me fooled too. But isn't it so easy to be that way when you haven't fought anybody? To be considered a "honorable" King, shouldn't he have to fight a series of battles and be victorious in a series of wars? Who has T.I fought? Lil Flip? He attempted a lyrical battle with Ludacris, but look what happened. Luda destroyed that nigga and T.I. gracefully and respectfully bowed out. He wanted no part of Ludacris, because Luda is a powerful, lyrical King...Right now, T.I. is vulnerable. He's weak..What do you think will happen if I decided to snatch his skinny ass off his "self-made throne"? That would be a sad day for hip-hop to see their favorite artist executed so easily. I am not Flip! And I'm not Luda! I'm Newt Turner! And without mercy or regard for his feelings or the current standing of his career, I WILL splatter his "blood" on the face of every fan, every ally and every member of Grand Hustle. The corporate suits at Atlantic Records won't have to wipe their faces."



Posted by: 66JULAIN | September 12, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice rap, JJ. But Che would clean the floor with your a**.

Posted by: byoolin | September 13, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

who's T.I.?

Posted by: confus-ED | September 13, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I think this man just threatened the life of T.I., isn't that a felon now?

Posted by: DC Man | September 13, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

As for Britney, who cares, she's played out anyway. Plus, everybody knows she really can't sing, and everybody knows she really can't dance.

So, the best thing for Britney to do is become a business woman, create a company name and start hiring talent, sort of like what puffy does.

She's a mom, not young anymore and has demostrated un-little girlish images, so just leave the singing and dancing to the future younger groups and move on in a different direction.

Posted by: DC Man | September 13, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know what happened to Brit's magic show with KrisAngel Mindfreak? Was he suppose to make her performance disappear? Because that would have saved the day!!

Posted by: cc | September 13, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course MTV booked her to help themselves and their ratings. But is it their job to determine if a performer is ready for the big stage? If Britney wasn't ready she could have backed out (even at the last minute) and we wouldn't be talking about it today. MTV could have bumped up someone else to open and had longer shots of the performances from the suites. This was her trainwreck, and she only has herself to blame.

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Posted by: link to my shop | September 16, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I always wonder if britney was black and treated her kids the way she is doing now dont you think she would be in jail ??

as for talent she could not even be a good pole dancer i guess the only thing she can do now is make a tired ass porno like paris did

everyone blams mtv why she did not need to say yes

so if you want to feel sorry for someone feel sorry for her kids ,,they got a drug taking no underwear wearing talentless wannabe (paris hilton lol) STAR

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