Forget the oddly medicated behavior, sartorial penchant for bandage dresses, that never-quite-recovered forehead line -- Britney joining Team "X Factor" as its newest judge is the best thing to have happened to the 30-year-old pop princess' career.
It's Britney, bitch! Here's why.
Shows like "X Factor" historically have not done well when they take a relative unknown and throw her to the American public. Take Nicole Scherzinger ("X Factor") and Kara DioGuardi ("American Idol") for example: two reasonably talented performers and songwriters whose critiques always seemed overshadowed by a feeling of "Who the heck are you?" Better for talent competitions are veteran performers whose association with a past zeitgeist also means they are people who have earned our trust: Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez, even Howard Stern.
Out of these, no one staged a comeback as terrifically as Lopez, who took a break from her career in 2008, after giving birth to twins. In 2010, Lopez quietly inked a $12 million contract to join "American Idol." By 2011, Lopez had debuted her new single "On the Floor" on the show, proven herself telegenically charmed and been crowned People magazine's "Most Beautiful Person of the Year." And by 2012, the 42-year-old topped the annual Forbes "Celebrity 100 List," which ranked her as the most powerful celebrity in the world. "It used to be enough for a celebrity to act or sing really well," the magazine wrote. "Today celebs need to be businesses."
Which is why Britney is poised to make such a spectacular comeback. Her influence is prominent even 14 years after "...Baby One More Time" rattled us with aggressively sexual school girl imagery and grunting-as-singing (the generation of girls currently parroting Britney's raspy baby voice also makes that clear). We root for Britney because we grew up with her, because we also in part created her: the head-shaving, the umbrella car-bashing, the divorce from K-Fed and eventual rehabilitation -- this is the absurd behavior of a girl whose life has been engineered to entertain since the age of eight. Even after a disastrous 2007 VMAs performance, during which an unfit Britney sadly gyrated to "Gimme More," supporters jumped to her defense. "The poor girl was in the midst of a breakdown.If i had 80,fat Mexican guys in my face when i went to get coffee,i'd have a breakdown as well,although i'd turn all Sean Penn on them. Back the Fuck up. x," an intense commenter wrote on one YouTube clip of the performance just this week.
In other words, Britney's gig on "X Factor" is her game to lose. Just as Britney has been engineered to entertain, we are engineered to support her, in the way that we are also engineered to support the American dream. At a time when autotune has become par for the course and Chris Brown doesn't even attempt to sing during the Billboard Music Awards, Britney's brand of candy pop seems as authentic as ever. The nostalgia runs rampant. So she'll never dance like this again. And she'll probably never really look like this again, either. But it's still Britney, bitch.
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