Ever since they burst onto the pop scene in 1999, the press have continued to contrive a feud between former Mickey Mouse Club colleagues Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. And although the pair very rarely alluded to their rivalry themselves, by the end of 2002, the general consensus was that the latter had emerged victorious.
Of course, Aguilera’s career was hardly in the doldrums. Her self-titled debut had shifted 17 million copies on its release in 1999 (compared to the 26m that Baby One More Time sold), “Genie In A Bottle,” “What A Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby” had all reached the top of the Billboard charts, while she even picked up Best New Artist at the 2000 Grammy Awards.
But following her initial wave of success, things went rather quiet. A Spanish album, Mi Reflejo, and festive record, My Kind Of Christmas, were mere mild distractions, and while she enjoyed success as one fifth of the super-group who took “Lady Marmalade” to No.1 as part of the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, she was undeniably playing catch-up to Britney when she eventually unleashed her belated second album proper in 2002.
Indeed, in the subsequent three years since Christina Aguilera, Britney had made her big-screen debut with Crossroads, embarked on a $40m grossing world tour and been named as the most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine, not to mention releasing a further two studio efforts. 2000’s Oops…I Did It Again consolidated her status as the ultimate pop princess, achieving the highest first-week sales of all time in the US, while 2001’s eponymous LP, which saw her hook up with the likes of The Neptunes and Dido, showed enough potential to suggest she was capable of maturing alongside her largely teenage audience.
But behind the scenes, Aguilera was planning her attack. Deeply unsatisfied with the squeaky-clean image and bubblegum sound of her debut, she sacked manager Steve Kurtz and hired Irving Azoff instead, teamed up with everyone from Alicia Keys to Glen Ballard to Linda Perry in an effort to distance herself from her manufactured pop past and co-wrote all but one of the 20 tracks on her second album, Stripped.
Initially, this fiercely independent approach appeared to have backfired. Lead single “Dirrty,” a raunchy maximalist slice of R&B featuring Wu Tang Clan’s Redman, sent shockwaves across both the industry and unsuspecting public, largely thanks to its unashamedly filthy David LaChapelle-directed promo, which saw Aguilera writhing around in a post-apocalyptic orgy dressed in a manner which Time magazine summed up as ‘like she’d arrived from an intergalactic hooker convention.’
Arguably more sexually explicit than any promo Madonna had put her name to, “Dirrty” may have hit No.1 in the UK, but was considered a step too far in her homeland, failing to even chart inside the Top 40 on its release. Its parent album fared considerably better, entering at No.2 behind the 8 Mile soundtrack, but its first-week sales of 330,000 wasn’t even half the figure Britney had managed a year earlier.
RCA executives may have understandably panicked that their golden girl had completely scared off her fan base, but they needn’t have worried for too long. For in a remarkable turnaround, Stripped went onto become not only the defining record of Aguilera’s career, but one of the biggest albums of 2003.
Its incredible change in fortune was undeniably down to one song and one song only, “Beautiful.” Penned by former 4 Non-Blondes front-woman Linda Perry, who turned down Pink’s offer to record it for her Missundaztood record because it was far too personal, she eventually and reluctantly gave it to Aguilera after hearing just how much emotion she was able to inject into it. One of her more understated performances, its empowering message of self-acceptance struck a chord with those who could relate to its themes of alienation and after hitting No.1 on the Billboard chart, it went onto win a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Pop performance, and perhaps more importantly, won back those who had jumped ship after “Dirrty.”
Aguilera then never looked back. “Fighter,” a massive arena rock anthem which celebrated the hardship of a relationship for making her strong; Lil Kim collaboration “Can’t Hold Us Down,” a dancehall-tinged R&B feminist anthem about the double standards of male sexual behavior; and “The Voice Within,” a Mariah-esque power ballad about trusting your instincts, all helped Stripped on its way to sales of 13 million copies and a two-year stay on the chart. While a joint tour with Justin Timberlake and the subsequent Stripped world tour earned her the title of the top-grossing female live act of the year.
Touching upon subjects as grown-up as domestic abuse and sexual freedom and in addition to tackling a diverse blend of Latin pop, soul, blues, hip-hop, rock and gospel, Stripped was instrumental in proving her credentials as a serious credible artist, something which always eluded Britney. And by the end of the album’s campaign, it was widely accepted that while Spears may have won several battles, Aguilera had won the war.
When a Britney Spears biopic is produced in a decade or two, the writers will face a challenge attempting to fit her career into a conventional running time. She is the opposite of the typical teen idol, who fades into obscured normality after their youngest days pass them by. Whereas a conventional music biopic will paint the picture of a rise and fall, Britney’s has remained entrenched in the spotlight – and on top of the charts – despite a personal life that would derail many other pop stars. Several years ago, it looked as if Britney might pursue the path of post-stardom, with drug treatment and lost custody battles among the obstacles that plagued Britney’s personal life in 2007. Still, despite the adversity Britney faced that year, she released an album in Blackout that shot to the top of the charts. It proved that, even when Britney’s personal life is struggling, her music and star power remain invigorated.
Britney’s tendencies to persevere, remain relevant, and continuously align herself with talented producers who push the envelope are reasons why she was Forbes’ highest paid female musician in 2012, earning an estimated $58 million. For better and for worse, she has remained in publications for reasons pertaining to both her music and personal life. Some pop stars pay a hefty sum to PR firms to keep their names in the news when there is not an album release or tour to promote, but Britney never had that problem. We were always reminded she was still in the biz, some way or another. Her business savvy truly shows when attempting to trace the specifics of her $58 million in earnings for 2012. Endorsement deals have already netted Britney a pretty penny; she has earned over $1 billion from her line of fragrances. Profits from the fragrances contributed substantially to her $58 million in earnings from 2012.
In addition to Britney’s line of fragrances, which she has released annually since 2004 and occasionally with bonus CDs, her 2012 earnings were positively impacted by her role on the second season of reality show The X Factor. Britney netted $15 million in 2012 salary by serving as a judge on the show, becoming The X Factor’s highest-paid judge. She didn’t return for the third season of The X Factor, but it’s not because she didn’t enjoy it. Britney has had a full slate for 2013, which includes working on her eighth album and performing a residency in Vegas. Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino will host the residency, which will likely take place right around the release of her upcoming album. With her newest “Island Fantasy” fragrance line, which follows up 2012′s “Fantasy Twist” line, and new album she may even surpass her 2012 earnings this year.
Business savvy with her fragrance line, a willingness to appear on television shows and Vegas residences, and a generally tabloid-less persona these days are reasons why Britney continues to gross so much revenue. A few years back, it looked as if she may travel off the deep end, either to fade away in obscurity or in tragedy. But the past few years she has appeared re-invigorated, and with the continuing success of both her product lines and music career, there’s no doubting that the success won’t continue. Even as her initial fan base grows older, her sound and product lines continue to see success among demographics beyond the typical teen-pop audience. Britney is proving more than ever why she is considered a pop idol.
The speculation has been rampant for months, but the deal to bring Britney Spears’ to Las Vegas is finally a reality. Spears will rake in $30 over the course of the Vegas residency.
The Deal outlines Spears performing a series (50 per year) of shows over a 2-year period at Vegas’ Planet Hollywood. Planet Hollywood even renamed their Twitter feed to Planet Britney.
Fans were expecting something big, after Spears’ Twitter account (or rather, her PR rep) hyped the event, Tweeting:
“You definitely aren’t going to want to miss this,” adding that “big news” would be announced.
Spears’ official website even had a countdown for a while.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, Spears spoke about Las Vegas and the upcoming residency, saying,
“I love it here. The energy here is really, really good. I am definitely going to do the greatest hits but I am going to have to put my new material in it to keep it fresh.”
Say what you will about the whole thing, but Elton John, Rod Stewart and Céline Dion have all done it, the latter of whom reportedly made somewhere near $100 million with a new deal for 210 shows at Caesars Palace last year.
In short, Spears will be making a whole lot of money from the thing. At the same time, however, this does feel like one of those things that artists do at the end of their careers, just before retirement.
This announcement also comes after the rush release of Spears’ latest single, “Work B—h”, co-written with “The Voice” judge will.i.am and Anthony Preston. Spears was forced to release the single after it was leaked (honestly, who is responsible for things leaking?), with Spears tweeting her sadness about it, saying,
“Woke up today and saw that a low quality version of Work B—h had leaked.”
TMZ reports that Spears is close to signing a deal “with of the Caesar group properties to appear in a Celine Dion-type show.”
“The deal is a go,” said an anonymous source connected with the negotiations. “There are several stipulations that could throw a monkey wrench in the deal, but it’s basically done.”
The gossip website also reports that a big part of the negotiations have to do with whether the residency will only require Spears to perform on stage every night, or if it also will require appearances at the hotels’ properties.
Regardless of what her Vegas stay entails, it looks like she won’t be missing her salary from “The X Factor” – sources also confirm that the amount of money is “astronomical,” and more than the reported $100 million per year that Celine Dion earns for her current residency. “Celine” is held around 70 nights a year at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Last week, Spears officially announced she would not be returning to “The X Factor” next season.
“I’ve made the very difficult decision not to return for another season,” she said in a statement. “I had an incredible time doing the show and I love the other judges and I am so proud of my teens but it’s time for me to get back in the studio. Watching them all do their thing up on that stage every week made me miss performing so much! I can’t wait to get back out there and do what I love most.”
Spears also is currently working on a new album, which will be her first since 2011’s Femme Fatale.
It looks like Britney Spears may be following the lead of L.A. Reid and leaving “The X Factor.”
“Producers wanted her for the long haul, but it isn’t working,” a source told U.S. Weekly of Spears position as a judge on the show. This is her first season on the show, and another source says a major point of contention is the $15 million contract, and that producers “paid all that money for her to say ‘amazing’ and offer hand-claps.”
Yet another source told the magazine that Simon Cowell wants Spears off the show, and that “He wanted crazy Britney, but he got boring Britney.”
But it wasn’t long ago that Cowell was defending Spears place on the show during a conference call in October, saying that she had been “a lot better than everybody thought… She’s very engaged… She has been, I think, a very, very good judge.”
Shortly after that statement by Cowell, Spears herself said that she would be returning for season three of the show, saying, “Yes, I definitely will.”
The second season of the show ended only a few weeks ago, but the judges seats have been highly volatile. Paula Abdul, Nichole Scherzinger and Cheryl Cole all left (or were forced to leave) the show after the first season, and Spears’ fellow judge, producer L.A. Reid announced earlier this month that he would leave the show.
A spokesperson for Fox told the Huffington Post that nothing has been confirmed for season three of “The X Factor.”
“No one has discussed next year’s judging panel yet – any reports otherwise are complete speculation,” said the spokesperson.
As if that weren’t enough, the magazine also is reporting that Spears may be splitting up with her fiance Jason Trawick. Another unnamed source said that the two have been fighting recently.
“They are pulling away from each other,” says the source. “Unless things change, they will split for good.”
Speculation has been running rampant recently as to who will replace ousted “X Factor” judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, and earlier this week it was reported that show creator Simon Cowell was looking to put Britney Spears in a judge’s chair. And to top it off, he apparently offered her $10 million for her trouble.
But while that may seem like a large number, it is now being reported that it wasn’t quite large enough, and that Spears requested $20 million to do the show.
TheWrap.com reports that “a knowledgeable individual in Spears’ camp” said that the singer rejected the $10 million offer three weeks ago, and is instead considering an offer to undertake a residency at a Las Vegas hotel this fall. The same source reported that Spears asked for $20 million. No official word on these offers has been issued by the Fox Network, Spears or Simon Cowell.
Though the “X Factor” is currently holding auditions for its next season, it won’t require judges until May.
The article on The Wrap reports that ex-judge Paula Abdul was paid around $2.5 million for her duties last season. Additionally, it reports that NBC will pay pop singer Christina Aguilera around $10 million for her work on its hit show “The Voice,” which will compete with the “X Factor” this fall.
It was announced earlier this year that Abdul and Scherzinger would not being returning to the show this season, and host Steve Jones was also ousted. Cowell will return to the show as a judge, along with record executive L.A. Reid. There also has been no word yet on who will replace Jones as the host of the show.
The inaugural season of the U.S. version of the “X Factor” ran from September to December of last year. In the end, singer Melanie Amaro was named the winner of the show. For the honor, she received a recording contract and a $5 million prize.
Cue up the “One More Time” and/or “Oops…I Did It Again” jokes, Britney Spears is engaged again. Spears’ boyfriend Jason Trawick apparently popped the question last Friday, and the couple spent the weekend in Las Vegas celebrating their engagement as well as Trawick’s 40th birthday. Spears was seen wearing a Neil Lane engagement ring throughout the Vegas stay. Trawick is a Hollywood agent, and the two have reportedly been dating since 2009.
In a strange twist, the engagement will have to be approved by Spears’ father, Jamie. Since a very public meltdown in 2008, the pop singer has been under a conservatorship. What this means is that most of Spears’ personal affairs – from her career to her money to her personal life – have been legally controlled by her father and her lawyer, Andrew Wallet, since that time. Because under the court ruling, her father makes all financial, medical and career decisions, Jamie would have to legally approve the wedding.
Spears has been married twice before, most famously to dancer Kevin Federline. Raising an already high profile at the time they got married in 2004, the couple appeared in a reality show called “Britney & Kevin: Chaotic,” which chronicled the couple’s early married life. The couple had two children, and divorced about two years after they were married. A drawn-out custody battle over the two boys kept the relationship in the spotlight for a time after the divorce.
Earlier in 2004, Spears married Jason Allen Alexander, a former childhood friend, at a chapel in Las Vegas. That marriage, however, was annulled less than three days later. Legal documents stated the reason for the annulment was that Spears “lacked understanding of her actions.”
Spears music career has once again taken center stage in her life as of late. In March she released her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. The album was well received by critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts.
The Britney Spears’ world tour “Femme Fatale,” just got longer. Nicki Minaj, the opening act, and Spears will now be out on the road until November.
Spears and company have been touring for about two weeks. They will next be performing in Vancouver on July 1. Since the itinerary was last checked, 11 more stops for North America have been added through the schedule. Current the North American leg will wrap up in Charlotte, NC on August 25.
Then the gigantic production will be heading to Europe and visit 25 cities over six weeks with the leg wrapping up in Lisbon, Portugal on November 9.
The all-woman tour includes opener Nicki Minaj in addition to Nervo, the Australian pop band headed by twin sisters Olivia and Miriam Nervo (who also go by The Nervo Twins). Pop singer Jessie Malakouti’s band Jessie and the Toy Boys are also part of the tour. The “band” is made up of male mannequins and is best known for their song “We Own the Night.”
Spears is touring in support of her seventh studio album “Femme Fatale,” which was released in March. The album debuted in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s 200 chart. It was the sixth album of Spears’ to debut in the top spot on the chart. The set is a followup to “Circus,” her platinum certified album from 2008. Her “Circus” tour was that year’s fifth highest-grossing world tour. According to Pollstar the gross was $131.8 million.
Summerfest considers itself to be the largest music festival in the world. Back in 1999 they even got Guiness to certify that for them. The 11 day event based in Milwaukee, WI features 11 stages and more than 700 acts. Announcing the massive festival’s lineup is a multiple month process that started last winter and wrapped up on June 2 when they announced the final headliner for this year’s festival. Jason Mraz gets the honor. Other world renowned acts scheduled to perform at the 2011 festival include The Black Keys with Florence & the Machine, Britney Spears with Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry with Marina and the Diamonds, Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow, Peter Gabriel with the New Blood Orchestra and Kanye West with Kid Cudi. They will all be headlining between June 29 and July 10 at Marcus Amphitheater.
An equally eclectic mixture of mainstream alternative, hip hop and indie acts will be featured at the remaining 10 stages, which are located in the Henry Maier Festival Park near the amphitheater. Notables include Wiz Khalifa, Stephen Marley, Taking Back Sunday, Rise Against, 311, Paul Rodgers, Matisyahu, Meat Loaf, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic, Hall & Oates, Dropkick Murphys, The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper and Girl Talk.
Also performing are AWOLNATION, Civil Twilight, Funeral Party, Nicole Atkins, Old 97s, The Airborne Toxic Event, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, Young the Giant, Alkaline Trio, Wanda Jackson, The Jayhawks, The Wailers, De La Soul, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Amos Lee, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes.
For the parents there is Blue Oyster Cult, Buddy Guy, Kansas, Peter Frampton, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Def Leppard with Heart.
For the 15 year olds at heart there is Finger Eleven, Switchfoot, Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eyed Blind.
The complete lineup and breakdown day by day can be found at summerfest.com
Tickets for the headlining shows at Marcus Amphitheater can be purchased individually from Ticketmaster. Also available through Ticketmaster are general admissions pass that allow access to the remaining stages. They come in configurations of weekday ($6), 3 day ($33) and 1 day ($13).
Sam Lufti, the former manager of Britney Spears, filed a motion with Los Angeles Superior Court and requested that an order be issued by a judge to have a psychiatric evaluation done on Spears as part of his defamation lawsuit versus Lynne Spears, the mother of Britney. He wants a deposition to be given by the singer. The parents of Britney claim she is not mentally capable to testify in court. Lufti cites the recent promotional activity and interviews done by Britney to support “Femme Fatale,” her new album, as circumstantial evidence that she has the capacity for mental competency and logical thinking.
In 2008, Lufti was fired from being Spears’ manager. He is pursuing legal action versus Lynn Spears, partially for her characterizing him as manipulative and sinister in “Through the Storm,” her 2008 memoir. Lynne, in the book, claims Lufti drugged Britney secretly, limited her mobility, cut of communication channels and acted effectively as her only gatekeeper.
Currently, Britney is under a conservatorship headed by Andrew Wallet, the family lawyer, and her father. If evaluators declare that Britney is mentally fit, it potentially could lead to Mr. Spears and Wallet losing control over Britney’s estate and career.