A strange thing happened in the entertainment world last weekend: A comeback performance by Britney Spears was a total bomb at the MTV Awards, but after the initial round of jokes, a number of people stuck up publicly for the onetime Southwest Mississippi elementary school student.
If you missed the broadcast, her performance is available online, and it truly was poor. There was none of her typically oversexed dancing. Even though she wore a silly-looking bikini outfit with knee-high boots, she did little more than walk around the stage while lip-synching poorly. An Associated Press writer had a good line, describing it as something that looked like it was created by the choreographer at a nursing home.
No doubt the Britney bomb was just what late-night talk show hosts were looking for. But then some people on the Internet, especially women, came to Spears' defense.
One msnbc.com columnist observed that it has been a while since Spears has performed, and said that a failed marriage and relentless attention from celebrity photographers had to wear down her self-confidence.
Another one, who professed a thorough dislike of Spears, nevertheless felt compelled to give her a break, especially when critics harped that she was overweight. That's no surprise - she's had two children.
It appears there's a reservoir of sympathy for Spears, in spite of some obviously poor choices in her life - one of which was her most recent appearance on MTV.