So over the weekend we had the VMA’s which brought us Beyonce killing it, Rhianna’s performance marathon, four minutes with Kanye, and of course the return of Britney Spears. For weeks this return was hyped up as Britney’s come back and we were told over and over that the queen was coming for her pop crown. Some were excited, some sat by vowing they would believe this when they saw it and the day came and we got an EPIC Beyonce performance followed by this…
I’m just gonna start by saying I completely agree that MTV was positively cruel putting this after what may potentially be one of the greatest performances to ever grace the VMA stage, but I’m going to give them the benefit of doubt and say maybe they thought it could be a strong follow. They were wrong, some Britney super fans loved it but this left the rest of us scratching our heads and Kanye shrugging while saying ‘it was good for her I guess’. And before I get into this I want to say I like Britney and I want her to do well, I am not writing this to criticize her or make fun of her I am just questioning how we approach someone like Britney Spears.
As I watched Vegas Britney wiggle around the stage lip syncing and doing the same dance moves she did when I was 17 I had to wonder what is Britney’s place in music today? Britney as an artist is both incapable and potentially unwilling to evolve and when put up against the Beyonces, Ariannas, and Adeles of today she just seems to fall short. We all came to terms with the fact that Brit was never a strong singer and that we would probably never see her sing live, that was never what made her special. What electrified Britney’s performances was the fact that she could put on a good show and she always seemed to love what she was doing.
See it’s not her singing that makes that performance great its the showmanship. She is heavily choreographed, but she effortlessly kills it and she prances around on stage like she owns it. And trust me I realize Britney today can never really go back to the Britney back then, too much has happened and there has been some irreversible damage but does that mean Britney can never achieve greatness in a different way?
If there is one thing her Make Me performance showed us it’s that compared to her peers Britney is a relic of the past, someone from a time when we had very different expectations from performers. The same way The Backstreet Boys can’t show up doing the same routines, in the same costumes they had in 2000 neither can Britney. These days artists have to either evolve, embrace their place in the nostalgia market, or retire. I’m not exactly sure which Britney should do, but I can say there are several things Brit and her people need to do if they keep insisting on her performing.
For one thing, they need to cut all the minimalist performances, they didn’t even do those when Britney was in her prime. Britney can’t rely on a dance-heavy performance because she no longer has the ability to dance like she used to, so surround her with dancers and theatrics to give her some cushion. This also helps with the lip syncing because the less there is going on around her the more noticeable it is Britney isn’t singing live. And speaking of the singing bit, just toss the mic altogether we already know she’s not singing live so it just looks ridiculous.
Along with that, find Britney a choreographer that can work with her. Just because she can’t go hard the way she used to doesn’t mean she can’t still put on a good show. The bits of the Make Me performance where she was on the floor were quite good, so maybe find someone who can look at what Britney can do and build the choreography around that.
And finally, update Britney’s style. She came up in a time that, let’s face it, tacky reigned supreme and then it fit, but today it makes Britney look even more dated. And I’m not saying drape her in Dior, but maybe not have everything be sparkly or revealing. Look at her peers and see whats good for performances and maybe hire a stylist to guide her with red carpet outfits. Also, can we get Brit better hair? Seriously every time I see her the hair and clothes makes me think of Kelly Bundy, not even like late Married with Children Kelly either, but like early episodes Kelly.
Most of all though I think we as casual viewers and fans alike need to stop trying to get the old Britney back so maybe we can actually get an even better new Britney. We have got to stop accepting mediocrity and passing it off as good enough and demand that Britney’s people do better by her. She has come so far and done so well, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be expected to do even better. And sure she most likely will always need help, but that does not mean she has lost all ability to thrive. After all it is Britney, Bitch!