September 8, 2008

Spears Finds Redemption at MTV Video Music Awards


It took a year, but Britney Spears' comeback on the MTV Video Music Awards is finally a reality.

Spears nabbed all three VMAs she was nominated for Sunday night, including video of the year, while triumphantly erasing the career- low of last year's opening ceremony.

The rebounding pop queen wore a short silver mini-dress with a plunging neckline, showcasing her svelte figure, and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience. Moments later, Spears won her very first VMA.

"I first wanna thank God for blessing me like this," Spears said.

It was a far cry from last year, when her disheveled, bumbling kickoff was widely panned as one of the worst in VMA history (the freewheeling show celebrates 25 years this year).

Though she only spent a few seconds onstage at the top of the show, Spears did provide a few laughs during a pre-taped comedic segment with "Superbad" actor Jonah Hill.

There were a few more laughs during comedian Russell Brand's opening monologue, but the celeb audience seemed more nervous than amused, as the frenetic Brit took aim at Madonna, the virginity of teen sensations the Jonas Brothers and President Bush, whom he called "a retarded cowboy fellow."

He clearly got under the skin of one celebrity, however, with his jokes about promise rings, which the Jonas Brothers wear to signify their virginity. Another promise ring wearer, Jordin Sparks, said before giving out one award: "I just wanna say, it's not bad to wear a promise ring because not every guy and a girl wants to be a slut, OK?" she quipped.

Afterward, a somewhat contrite Brand apologized to a stone-faced Jonas Brothers, saying, "I didn't mean to take it lightly" before adding, "a little sex once and a while never hurt anybody."

The prim and proper Leona Lewis gave a graceful opening performance for a song by ... Lil Wayne, who appeared on stage barechested, displaying his tattooed torso as his pants hung below his buttocks (Ralph Lauren's underwear line got a nice plug).

The Jonas Brothers performed a version of their song "Lovebug" that was so genteel one might have thought they were doing a tribute to the Osmonds. But the trio then segued to a rocked-out version of the song in the final moments, as a throng of screaming fans surrounded them on one of the movie's many sets.

Pink gave perhaps the show's most rousing performance, a performance of her new song, "So What."

BOOK REJECTED? GIVE THEM A CALL: The publisher that took on O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It" after it was dropped in the face of public outrage has signed up another rejected project: Sherry Jones' "The Jewel of Medina," a novel about a wife of the prophet Muhammad that Random House canceled out of concern that it would anger Muslims.

"We read the book, we loved it," says Eric Kampmann, owner of Beaufort Books, which managed a hit last year with Simpson's hypothetical confession to murder. Jones' novel should come out by mid-October, Kampmann said.

Random House was supposed to publish Jones' novel last month, but pulled it after determining that Muslims would be offended by its subject matter. Jones' book is a

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