It’s that time of the year again — last week nominations were released for MTV’s star-studded and notoriously controversial Video Music Awards. But who should score a whooping seven nods, including the top category for Video of the Year? Britney Spears, y’all.
The songstress will be up against 2009’s hottest acts, Beyonce and Lady Gaga for the coveted prize, prompting numerous industry insiders to question if she really deserved such a slew of nominations for her one and only music video this year, Womanizer, in which she suggestively caresses her seemingly naked body, photocopies her bottom after stomping around a corporate office in a black wig and gets raunchy in the back of a car in her secret-service inspired get-up.
"We were surprised she got so many nominations because she has been 'lip synching' and while she is talented, the terrain has changed so this may be sympathy nominations because she is getting well," said a key industry insider. "Every network is hurting for eyeballs. Britney always draws an audience."
But let’s not forget that it was because of the troubled Tinseltowner’s sedated-like opening performance in 2007 that the VMAs surged into a whole new ratings stratosphere.
"When I first saw it I started to panic," an MTV advertising executive told Tarts at the time. "But I soon realized that this was great, it was obviously going to get a lot of attention around the world."
Last year, Brit was ratings-gold for the VMAs (viewership was up 41 percent from two years prior) thanks to her over hyped ‘comeback’ - although this time she didn’t have to sing and dance, she just had to gratuitously accept three moonmen for her musical abilities. Interestingly, those three VMAs were the first Spears had ever won although she had previously received 16 nominations. Her 1999 debut album "Baby One More Time" remains the highest-selling album by a female pop artist of all time but even then she only scored three nominations.
So does Brit really now deserve seven nods or is MTV trying to not-so-subtly steer Spears back to the stage, for better or for worse?
Her former music producer and good friend, the Grammy winning Dallas Austin, even admitted she was quite "a singer."
"Britney is very normal, very average. She's fun, she likes to play games, it's sad because Hollywood makes you into a person that you don't want to be," Austin told us. "She can sing, but it's different than being a singer and a person who can sing. The average person can sing pretty much, you can sing along to it in the car and you'll probably be in the same pitch. But then there's people who can't sing, and they're tone deaf and they can't hear the pitch that the song is in. That's a different story. Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah - there are a lot of people with really great tones that aren't going to sing like Celine Dion or Whitney Houston."
Spears rep did not respond for comment and it remains unclear as to whether Spears will present or perform at the uber-hyped awards show, which will take place in New York City on September 13.
While things are obviously looking pretty positive for the pop princess on a professional front, it seems she could be going through some personal problems yet again. Britney has been back to a bit of her bizarre behavior over the last week — wigging out, wearing too tight dresses and hanging out with fellow "reformed" rehabber Lindsay Lohan. Let’s hope it is all in the name of post-tour recuperation!
Chris Pine, Emmy Rossum, Jordana Brewster, Rose McGowan and (coincidentally, Marilyn Manson’s other ex ) Evan Rachel Wood were walking the red carpet outside the Beverly Hills Hotel before heading into the Hollywood Foreign Press Annual Installation Luncheon on Tuesday, however all eyes were actually on something slightly more sinister.
Just as one of the guests, believed to be an HBO publicist, stopped in the valet line and was stepping out of the car her vehicle was hit from behind (generating quite the smack!) and she tumbled to the ground. Drama ensued as several people panicked and rushed over to help but thankfully the female attendee came out seemingly unscathed.
But could the annual luncheon, in which $1,249,000 was donated to 29 film schools and nonprofit organizations to foster emerging filmmakers and education, have a car curse? Last year John C. Reilly failed to show as he was involved in a fender bender en route to the star-studded event.
However the belle of the ball was the super slender Emmy Rossum, who was obviously so concerned with being quizzed about the recent rumors she is splitting from her secret husband Justin Siegal that she had two reps walk her down and warn everyone not to approach the controversial topic. However we did spot Rossum making a hasty exit from the auditorium pretty early.
"It’s freezing, one degree in here," she told us with a laugh. "But all these people don’t feel it because they are wasted!"
One person who was trying to avoid being lumped into that category was Warren Beatty.
"I always behave badly at these things and I’m trying to control myself so I wrote some things down," he said. "To keep myself from saying the things I’m tempted to say …"
Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Sting and Trudie Styler sipping new Neuro drinks while together on vacation in St. Tropez, France last Thursday.
Samaire Armstrong at the Gavert Atelier Salon in Beverly Hills on Thursday, dying her blonde locks chocolate brown.
Bridget Marquardt picking up a "Guardian Angel" necklace from Energy Muse Jewelry at Melanie Segal's Teen Choice Awards gift lounge at Hollywood's Magic Castle on Friday.
Ashlee Greene (who has just been caught up in yet another nude photo scandal) picking up goodies at the Pastry by Angela and Vanessa Simmons booth at the 102.7 KIIS-FM gifting louge at the W Hotel in Westwood on Friday morning.
Jesse McCartney relaxing on the roof deck with a Agave Lemonade SoBe Lifewater and inquiring about renting the venue at the final SoBe Lifewater Summer Fridays event which was the Stephan Weiss Studios in NY. Cassie also got a pedicure before jumping onstage during the MJ tribute.
Lindsay Lohan at the Music Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago during Lollapalooz on Friday, dancing backstage to The Virgins with her little sister Ali and on again girlfriend Sam Ronson’s sister Annabelle Dexter-Jones.
Leighton Meester and beau Sebastian Stan enjoying a daytime "brunch-fest" at Day & Night Restaurant Beach Club in Southampton on Saturday where they sipped from several bottles of Bertaud Belieu Rose Champagne with a group friends in a private poolside cabana. The couple later hit up Philippe Chow’s Lily Pond restaurant for the after party of Gotham/Hampton magazine’s screening of Kutcher’s film Spread.
Jon Voight, Brett Ratner, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, James Van Der Beek, Scott Baio and the newly separated Shannon Elisabeth and Derek Hough partying up a storm and listening to the live sounds of Three 6 Mafia at Hugh Hefner's Annual "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the iconic mansion on Saturday night.
Designer Betsey Johnson dining with her family on Saturday night at Matto in East Hampton.
Down the road at Nick & Toni's, Mary J. Blige enjoyed dinner and bottles of French red wine with record executive L.A. Reid and his wife.
Former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon relaxing in a private cabana The Pools at The Water Club at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City on Saturday with her girlfriends before enjoying some alone time at Immersion Spa. The songstress then used her Borgata Nightlife Rewards for a shopping spree at Fixation and Just Cavalli at The Water Club on her way to FORNELLETTO Cucina & Wine Bar before partying at mur.mur nightclub where DJ Chachi performed a special set for the guest of honor including her new single "Only You." A reality show following Adrienne’s new single life in New York City will air this fall on MTV.
John Mayer and Rob Dyrdek drinking at the VIP table at Hollywood hotspot MyHouse on Saturday before escorting their ladies to the car at the end of the night.
Britney Spears picking up Office Depot backpacks for her sons at the Bop It Celebrity Retreat produced by Backstage Creations, backstage at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday. Meanwhile Robert Pattinson, Hayden Panettiere, Ed Westwick and Abigail Breslin were spotted noshing on Sprinkles cupcakes.
Rob Lowe talking about a "huge twist" in the new season of "Brother's and Sisters" as he showed off his golf skills at the Bernie Brillstein Golf Classic benefiting Barlow Respiratory Hospital (Brillstein was Lowe's longtime manager) in Tarzana, Calif. on Monday.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sitting together all evening sipping cocktails and making lovey eyes at West Hollywood's Mondrian Hotel on Monday for the "Inglorious Basterds" premiere after party.
Meanwhile Joshua Jackson kept a low profile next to his leading lady Diane Kruger as he let her steal the spotlight.
Eva Longoria-Parker dashing into the Beverly Hills Hotel after running significantly late for the Hollywood Foreign Press luncheon on Tuesday.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay