It’s only fitting for one princess of pop to fete another. And that’s what happened when Lady Gaga stepped out onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards to pay tribute to Britney Spears with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Well, kind of.
Gaga took the stage to honor Spears still in character as her male alter ego Jo Calderone, which she’d taken on for her show-opening performance earlier in the night. And that made things pretty interesting. Calderone opened by calling Spears an inspiration, saying, “She taught us all how to be fearless, and the industry wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Calderone then went on to get a little personal about Spears. He told the audience he used to put up posters of the pop star on his bedroom wall and be inspired in non-musical ways. It was a weird moment, but Calderone is a young guy of the right generation — a generation that would indeed have posters of Britney Spears on his/her wall.
There’s a reason, after all, she was being awarded the Vanguard Award.
The tribute then turned into exactly what any great tribute to this particular diva should be: a dance party. Spears is known as one of the biggest dance pop artists of her generation, and accordingly, dancers wearing Britney’s most famous video looks took the stage to get down to her biggest hits, from “Baby One More Time” and “Crazy” to “Toxic” and “Do Somethin’.”
By the time the sequence dissolved into a full-stage dance-off to Spears’ recent smash “Till The World Ends,” children also wearing Spears’ myriad costumes popped up onstage alongside their grown-up dancing counterparts. It was a fitting way to show the impact Spears’ music has had. From kids to adults, everyone knows and loves Britney.
As the performance ended, Gaga-as-Calderone again grabbed the spotlight to introduce the pop star and did so with the kind of bravado that carried him through his monologue earlier in the show. “Everybody, stand the f— up,” Calderone demanded.
Looking better than ever and glowing from all the praise, Spears then took the stage.
Calderone certainly liked what he saw, eyeing the singer before stepping forward for a semi-awkward stare-down. But Gaga, er, Calderone eventually got what he wanted: a quick kiss from the one and only Britney Spears. He wanted more, however, but alas, it just wasn’t going to happen. Being a classy guy, Calderone brushed off Britney’s dismissal of his advances with a cool, “I don’t want Gaga to get pissed.”
Spears seemed thankful for the prize but used her time to shine the spotlight on another artist: Beyoncé. Spears introduced Queen B’s unstoppable performance of the amazing 4 track “Love on Top” — at the end of which Beyoncé revealed her pregnant belly.
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