The torch was passed backwards at the 2011 MTV VMAs, with Lady Gaga presenting the Video Vanguard Award to Britney Spears, in recognition of her years of service to the entertainment of millions of music fans over the last 13 years.
It was fitting that Gaga, winner of the night’s first prize—for Best Video With a Message” for “Born This Way,” came out to honor Spears, winner of the evening’s second award, Best Pop Video for “Till the End of the World,” as both are direct descendants of MTV’s first female star, Madonna.
“Britney taught me how to be fearless. She's a pop music legend and the industry would not be the same with out her... Britney has given us some of the most iconic music videos and and stage shows of our time. And that's why tonight, MTV and myself are honoring Britney and her influence on music videos and dance with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award,” said
Gaga Jo Calderone, before giving way to a barrage of Britney impersonators recreating some of her most famous videos, some of the dancers apparently not yet teenagers.
When the tribute was over, Calderone and Spears faced off, the whole world waiting to see if thye'd share a kiss, like the one Britney shared with Madonna at the 2003 VMAs, before backing away from each other.
"I don't want Gaga to get pissed," said "Calderone."
“This award means so much to me," said Spears. "Especially on the day before Michael Jackson's birthday. He had such a huge influence on me, Gaga and our next performer, Beyonce."
Spears has been nominated for 29 VMAs since she first exploded on the scene in 1999, done up in a Catholic school girls uniform and pigtails, with the video for “…Baby One More Time.” In that time, she’s seen more than her share of ups and downs, from a couple of ill-fated marriages, a breakdown or two, a head-shaving, some wild weight fluctuations and a level of scrutiny no one should’ve had to endure.
But Spears released “Femme Fatale” earlier this year, her first album in three years, debuting at #1 and spawning three top 10 singles, and looks far healthier and happier than she did in 2008, when she released her previous album, “Circus.” Well done, Brit.