Video Killed the Video Star
I recently read in Rolling Stone (yes, I read Rolling Stone) a quote from Kanye West regarding the Britney Spears-VMA-whatever-whatever. He pointed out that MTV needed Britney to pull in the viewers, the ratings: “They knew she wasn’t ready,” Kanye is quoted as saying, “They exploited her.”
It’s easy to dismiss anything Kanye West says. He’s Kanye West, after all. But consider the following:
#1: Britney Spears did not fare well at her Hard Rock Cafe performances.
#2: MTV released video of her rehearsing where she looks okay-ish. They saw her perform the routine (which is nothing special) before she performed. Rumors circulate that MTV changed the routine, that her shoe broke, that the costume change was last minute, that she heard Sarah Silverman talk shit about her babies before the show.
#3: Why did MTV schedule Sarah Silverman immediately after Spears? Silverman never reappeared. So she wasn’t the host. They put a comic who is known for picking on celebutards immediately after Britney Spears’ worst performance ever (which, mind you, is probably better than 90% of us could ever do, I judge her on her own past performances, and frankly this one sucked in comparison).
So MTV knew the show was going to stink or at least be watched with eagle eyes. They put a barb-flinging comic right after, almost as if to show the world that they were in on the joke. In a way, MTV sacrificed Spears on a very public altar.
One time and one time only, watch Britney Spears crumble in front of millions of people. I think Britney Spears and the era in music she represents did a lot for MTV. They should have been more grateful. Bring the girl out on stage and let her sing. Or just present an award. Or tell her that she should make her comeback next year. When she’s not in the middle of a custody battle, a trial for a hit-and-run, a family feud, and having a breakdown at the same time.
Instead they dumped pig’s blood all over her and were sad that she didn’t put on a better show. I mean, geez, at least Carrie wigged out. She didn’t just stand there, trying to stumble her way through the first dance while the Prom King laughed at her.
Britney Spears may not ever make a comeback. She might. Who knows? But my hat goes off to MTV. They created a monster and then killed it ritualistically. “Gimme more,” they said, and she had nothing to give them.