Just months out of her stint in rehab, Britney Spears staged a "comeback" Tuesday night with the help of a recent exercise kick, some synthetic hair, very little clothing and the type of moves best performed in 6-inch platform heels. The 20-minute act -- advertised as a performance by "The M&Ms" -- at the San Diego House of Blues even culminated in a chair routine and lap dance, with plenty of leg-spreading, hair-flipping action. TMZ dubbed the performance "stripperific" and crowed: "Part singer, part stripper, all WOW!"
Wow, indeed. Don't get me wrong -- there's nothing shocking about seeing Britney Spears lip-sync her way through a provocative dance number, even if it has been three years since her last public performance. It's the frenzied media and blog coverage of the gig that cause my eyes to bulge. While there was plenty of snarkiness about the short, lip-synced set and her lack of interaction with the audience, there was also plenty of "You go, girl" cheerleading. There seems serious relief and enjoyment in the fact that she has finally pulled herself back together, as evidenced by the reappearance of her abs and breast-framing hair (no matter that it's a wig -- it's the effort that counts). It's no secret that we love to put our stars on pedestals, only to knock them down. The rise! The fall! The comeback!
The buzz around her reappearance isn't so much a celebration of her return to a relatively functioning state as it is a salute to the return of Spears, the symbol. It strikes me as sad that her reembrace of the very carefully choreographed seductress role -- one that has all the depth of a blow-up doll and, arguably, led her to very publicly deface her own body --can be seen as a comeback rather than a relapse.