Britney Spears returns to MTV

Britney Spears returned to MTV at Sunday’s Video Music Awards, but the comeback was less than grand. The singer and tabloid queen kicked off the music channel’s annual award show with a performance that was intended to tell the world she was back and ready to reclaim her throne as Pop’s princess.

Instead, Spears seemed lost on stage, and not quite ready for the cameras. The singer needed to brush up on her lip-synching skills; pick up the pace on her dance moves (she basically just walked around the stage); and maybe had an energy drink before she started the show. The performance was meant to help build excitement for Spears new album, but illustrated how far she has fallen from her glory days.

Some of music’s new stars felt the performance was less than grand. Singer Akon commented Spears “definitely could have been a lot better,” and that Spears “seemed nervous.”

Other performances included Alicia Keys debut of her new song “No One,” and Cee-Lo’s cover of Prince’s classic “Darling Nikki. There were also short performances from Akon, Fall Out Boy and the Foo Fighters.

The award show evening also saw some behind the scenes drama. There was a reported off-camera fight between rockers Kid Rock and Tommy Lee – which led Jamie Foxx to joke: “Stop all this white-on-white violence.”

Justin Timberlake (who was a big winner of the night with four trophies) challenged the “music” channel to actually play more music videos. As he was accepting his award for Male Artist of the Year, Timberlake further commented on MTV stating: “We don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television.”

Here is a list of the evening’s winners:

Video of the Year: Rihanna, “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z

Male Artist of the Year: Justin Timberlake

Female Artist of the Year: Fergie

Quadruple Threat of the Year: Justin Timberlake

Best Group: Fallout Boy, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”

Monster Single of the Year: Rihanna, “Umbrella”

Most Earthshattering Collaboration: Beyonce and Shakira, “Beautiful Liar”

Best Editing: Ken Mowe for Gnarls Barkley’s “Smiley Faces”

Best Director: Samuel Bayer for Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around … Comes Around”

Best Choreography: Marty Kudelka for Justin Timberlake’s “Let Me Talk to You/My Love”

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