When Are We Gonna Stop Pretending Like Britney Spears Is Back?

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I have a simple question for you today, internets — why is it that we're supposed to pretend that Britney Spears is back to normal? The pop star and X Factor judge posted the above picture of herself on Twitter a couple days ago, and it really got me thinking. In the shot, she's modeling for her Elizabeth Arden shoot, for a new fragrance, and she says her fiancee Jason Trawick was reminded of Jean Harlow. Okay, that's all well and good, but can we look at the photo for a second? Sure, she's all made up, but look a little closer and she has raccoon eyes. Sure, she's posing sexily, but look a little closer and you can see how uncomfortable she looks. Her pose is like an approximation of sexiness, like what a child would do if you asked her to do a sexy pose. Sure, she's wearing a gold spangly dress and a tiara, but look a little closer and she's posing in fluorescent lighting in a hallway in front of a firehose. All the elements are there, but they don't add up. It's like the walk of shame — no matter how sexy your going out clothes were the night before, by the time you're letting yourself quietly out the backdoor while the sun's coming up, you're gonna look a little worse for wear.

And Britney Spears is very much still returning from her walk of shame. She's trudging back home with her heels in her hand, and I'm tired of pretending that she's back to what she was. I remember that Britney. She was focused, driven, and on top of her shit. Granted, she was also being overworked and abused by the people closest to her as they pushed her to make money for them, but she had a spark in her eye, and that spark is gone now. Nowadays, I can always see what she's going for, but I feel like that's what ends up happening with most people. We can see what she's attempting, so we pretend like she's nailing it because it's easier than admitting that she probably still needs help. Everyone wants her to succeed so we can have our bouncy pop princess back, but I don't think that's what she is anymore.

Sure, she's hosting a show, and producing a fragrance, and she still dutifully comes out with new music and new videos, but she's not in it. Her extensions are ratty, her make-up is messy, her dance moves are sluggish, and her face is physically different. I don't know if it's from drugs, or exhaustion, or from being bipolar, but Britney is a different person, and I honestly don't feel like the spotlight is the right place for her right now, or maybe ever. What she really needs is to take some time off, spend time with her kids, and get herself together before she tries to continue her career.

Sure, we'd all miss the music and the drama and the gossip, but I'd feel a lot better seeing that spark back in her eye.

(Image: Instagram)