The MTV Video Music Awards featured a lot of star power this year, but some fans were left wondering: Where were Britney and Justin?
Britney Spears has practically made a tradition of not only appearing at the VMAs, but giving the ceremony some of its most talked about moments. She performed her schoolgirl hit "... Baby One More Time" in 1999, stripped to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Oops! ... I Did It Again" in 2000, became a snake charmer for "I'm a Slave 4 U" in 2001, presented birthday cake to Michael Jackson (who mistook it for an award) in 2002, and kissed Madonna in 2003 (see "Madonna's Hex Appeal").
But this year Spears skipped Sunday's VMAs. The singer also skipped out on the final performance of the kids attending her Britney Spears Camp for the Performing Arts in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
This disappointed not only her fans, but also the campers, who got a visit from the singer's mom instead. "Britney would have loved this," Lynne Spears told the kids at the end of their show, according to the Boston Herald.
Britney did manage to check in via satellite, according to fan sites. This, apparently, wasn't satisfactory to campers who said they felt like she wasn't paying attention, since she was looking in the other direction and talking to her fiance, Kevin Federline (see "It's True: Britney's Engaged"). She later held up a sign indicating that there were technical problems preventing her from seeing them.
"They were really disappointed, and some of them were saying that she just didn't feel like coming, because if she can go out and about with Kevin or shopping or whatever, then she could have come here," wrote the mother of one camper, Heather Pascarelli, on WorldOfBritney.com.
Despite Spears being spotted in various Southern California locations over the weekend — visiting a video game store and going out to dinner, for instance — she wasn't dissing the VMAs or her performing-arts camp, her rep said. Rather, the singer had gone for a checkup on her knee injury (see "Britney Busts Knee, Complicating Video Shoot And Tour") and was told by the doctor that since her knee had taken a turn for the worse and had swollen up, she should avoid flying so it wouldn't be affected by air-pressure changes.
Go behind the scenes at the 2004 VMAs
"It's unfortunate," Spears spokesperson Leslie Sloane-Zelnick said, "but that doesn't mean she can't continue life or eat dinner. First and foremost, she wanted to attend the camp, and then the VMAs. But she couldn't go to either, since both were on the East Coast."
Meanwhile, Timberlake was also photographed elsewhere during the awards weekend, surfing and enjoying sunsets in Hawaii with girlfriend Cameron Diaz, because he was "on vacation," according to his rep.