Our heads were swimming earlier this month with the rumors about the Britney Spears tribute planned for the Video Music Awards—Demi Lovato doing “Toxic”! Janet Jackson doing “I’m a Slave 4 U”! Grace Jones and the ghost of Janis Joplin dueting on “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know!”—many of which seemed too good to be true. Well, guess what. The stage tribute to Britney Spears at this year’s VMAs included a lot of her hits—unfortunately, they were all her own renditions, played over a dance montage of what looked distinctly like unfamous people (tweens, no less!) dancing to the music. There was some creative costuming—schoolgirl outfits from “Baby One More Time,” red bodysuits from “Oops! I Did It Again,” even the flesh-colored getup from Brit’s VMAs “I’m a Slave 4 U”—but it’s not nearly enough to make up for the disappointment. This is why rumors are dangerous, kids.
The best—and by best, we mean hardest to watch—part was undoubtedly Lady Gaga, still as Jo Calderone, crowding the microphone during Britney’s acceptance speech, trying to extort what would have been undoubtedly one of the top ten most buzzed-about lesbian kisses Brit has ever been part of on the VMA stage. (She held strong, though she looked terrified for the rest of her speech.)