She'll never be Whitney Houston.
She'll never be Jennifer Hudson.
On her best day she probably won't even be Ashanti.
Shit, she'll never be Cassie.
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a video of Britney singing "live" and my ears did NOT bleed.
Britney Spears has never been a singer. I really don't recall an artist since Milli Vanilli who has achieved such great success by not doing a damn thing. Dance-wise she currently moves like a retired Vegas stripper who had a hip replacement. Vocally she... she doesn't. Even her biggest stan will admit that they know that she cannot sing nor dance, but just being in the arena in her presence is worth the price of a ticket.
She has been apart of memorable performances but most have revolved around a stunt of some kind as opposed to some extraordinary singing or dancing.
Her 2000 VMA performance revolved around her NOT singing while stripping.
Her 2001 VMA performance revolved around her NOT singing while holding a snake.
Her 2003 VMA performance revolved around her NOT singing while bumping vaginas with Madonna.
Her 2007 VMA performance...
Her rendition of "You Oughta Know" was not designed to prove that Britney is a great vocalist. That will never happen. Britney's legacy will not be that she was a great musical artist. There's really no such thing as the "Britney Sound". No one has aspired to "sound like Britney Spears". She has, however, influenced other performers. She has paved the way for the Miley Cyruses, Brooke Hogans, Kim Zolciaks, and Paris Hiltons of the world. Personalities who are neither good singers or dancers, but can still be apart of good music with the right marketing and producers.
Obviously Britney's rendition of "You Oughta Know" wasn't vocally spectacular. It would probably get her laughed out of the American Idol audition room, but it is not fair to compare Britney's vocals to Beyonce nor Alanis. In order to find the triumph in her performance you must take the performance in its proper context and think of its intended audience. Her audience, her stans, the people who pay to watch her NOT sing or dance all seemed to love it and that's all that matters.
As hard as it must be to be Britney Spears it must be even harder to stan for her. Everyday you're reminded that you stan for an industry joke who is not even 30 years old and yet is somehow past her prime. You have to deal with bad reviews, YouTube haters, and Family Guy jokes.
The worst thing Family Guy has said about Beyonce (so far) was in the "Family Gay" episode when Peter says "“Awwww I wish I was Beyoncé”.
So after all the shit that Britney and her stans have been through we should be proud of the fact that she has made headlines for doing something that does not involve shaving her head, dropping her baby, or showing her twat. The fact that she is a "singer" who actually made headlines for (GASP!) singing is an achievement within itself.
It is not my desire to take this away from her. It's not like Beyonce is suffering right now, or desperate for some positive attention.
In the same way that Britney stans think she is the best thing since cooked crack, Beyonce stans think she is great too, but we have some credible co-signers:
Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Prince, Kanye West, Teena Marie, Donna Summer, Debbie Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackmann, Mike Meyers, Dionne Warrick, Grace Slick, Patti Labelle, Annie Lennox, Bono, Chris Martin Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Neffie Obama, Pookie Obama, etc...
Even Ted Nugent is a damn fan.
Stevie Wonder even went to Beyonce's show. And he just doesn't leave his house for any random broad.
Beyonce stans may be delusional but we have legends, reviews, AND numbers to support our delusions.
Britney's greatness exists mainly in Soundscan numbers from 1999 and in the minds of the tweens and power bottoms who call themselves her stans. Her tour is the highlight of 5 years of embarrassments, humiliations, and missteps, and even the nicest reviews admit that she is the LEAST entertaining aspect of her own show. That has to sting a little bit.
She IS a pop icon meaning 20 years from now she will be one of the figures who will represent our culture. But while the Justins, Kanyes, and Jay-Zs will represent the sound of our generation Britney will represent the consequences of fame. She will represent what happens when you give too much fame to children with neither the maturity to handle it nor the talent to sustain it.
Life has given Britney Spears and her stans one sucker punch after another. Because of these things I will not take this small victory away from her.
She deserves it.
It's been Beyonce Week every week since 2003. If she's not winning Grammys, she's selling out shows, or selling albums, or singing for the president, or selling Dereon Vaginal Wash, or just doing something somewhere to remind you that she is better than everybody.
Beyonce's career is and has been overflowing with greatness for a while now. So why can't we let Britney have this one victory?
Why can't we let Britney be great?