Britney Spears backed out at the last minute last month from recording a duet with her superstar ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake — and the decision has executives at her record label, Jive, very worried, reports the New York Post's Page Six gossip column.
The duet, which was to be produced by hit-maker Timbaland, could have started a big comeback for the troubled star, whose strange behavior this year has seriously damaged her reputation.
A music industry source told Page Six that Timberlake wrote the duet specifically for Spears. While they wouldn't have been together in the studio, his voice would have been mixed with hers later.
"Timbaland set aside a week out of his crazy schedule to do this — and then, just before she was supposed to fly out, Britney abruptly canceled the session and refused to do the song.
"It's crazy," the insider added. "She's looking for a comeback, and this would have not only been a huge hit, but something she could have opened the MTV Video Awards with and really blown everyone away."
Another insider said, "Listen, everyone is worried. In her mind, her album is done and she's done enough work ... She's an easy target right now, because she's ... sick. People like her are sick. It's like an anorexic who's sick in the head and needs help. She needs help. It's sad because what she's got — and we've heard it's like bipolar disorder — can easily be treated with medication, but she won't do it."
Without a great song to perform, there's concern that Spears will bomb at next month's VMAs, Page Six reports.
As for whether or not Jive is through with Spears, the insider said, "People at Jive have been with Britney since album one, and have an investment in her. They have faith that once the material is there, she will become focused and step it up. She's very competitive, but at the end of the day, it's hard. She has to do the work — no one can do it for her."
Spears and her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, are currently embroiled in a nasty custody battle for their young sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James.