Britney Spears will kick off VMAs
Network calls singer 'critical piece of MTV's history'NEW YORK -- Despite her train-wreck performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last year, the network confirms that Britney Spears will kick off the show once again.
But it won't be a performance. Instead, MTV Networks Music Group President Van Toffler said Wednesday, it'll be something "fun and unexpected" on Sunday night's show.
Unexpected is probably the kindest way to describe Spears' performance at last year's VMAs. In what was heavily promoted as the troubled singer's comeback, she instead gave an unfocused, almost unwatchable performance of "Gimme More," one of the many lowpoints in her year of debacles.
So what made Spears and MTV reunite one more time?
"MTV has long played an important role in my career. How can I not be there to kick off their 25th VMAs? I'm excited to open the entire show, to say hi to my fans and to be nominated," Spears said in a statement.
"I think for Britney, people are rooting for her, and she's really on the road to recovery," Toffler said, noting that MTV had nominated her for three VMAs, including video of the year, for her clip "Piece of Me."
"It feels like it's her year," he added. "It's our 25th anniversary of the VMAs, and she's been such a critical piece of MTV's history."
Spears also equals ratings gold: Last year's VMAs were up 23% over the 2006 show.
In recent months, Spears, who's working on a new album, has appeared to have cleaned up her act. Her father James has been in control of her personal and professional matters as her legal conservator, and she drew high ratings and positive reviews when she made guest appearances on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" earlier this year.
So far, the confirmed performers for Sunday's show include the Jonas Brothers, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, T.I. and Kid Rock.
Toffler also raised the possibility of another troubled pop icon appearing: Michael Jackson.
"We've been talking to him as well, I don't know if that's going to happen," he said. "People fall in and fall out up until the day of the show."