Britney’s Real Competition: It’s Not Lady Gaga

EDIT: I mistyped first-day spins as first-week spins for “Bad Romance,” “Only Girl,” and “California Gurls.” I alternated between the two words a lot in this article, so this wasn’t intentional. It’s been corrected. Forgive, please! OK, thanks. Anyway, here’s the article —

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Britney Spears has spent the past week shattering records: her incredible new song “Hold It Against Me,” which smuggles industrial, dubstep, and rave beats onto American radio, annihilated Mariah Carey’s first-day spin record to debut with an astonishing 700 plays — only to go on to defeat Eminem for the first-week spin record, too, racking up an unprecedented 4,600 plays. The song is set to debut at a mind-blowing #16 on the pop charts, tying Madonna’s “Frozen” and failing only to match Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover.” But a word of caution about the “Dreamlover” record: what matters more is absolute, not relative domination: “Hold It Against Me” outdid “Dreamlover” on all of the fundamentals. “Hold It Against Me” only ranks lower because of its impressive competition (“Firework,” “Grenade,” “We R Who We R”) — in a weak field, such as the one that “3” faced, Britney might have even debuted in the Top 10.

Most incredibly, though: the track is set to follow “3” to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Britney only the third artist ever — Celine Dion and Mariah Carey are the others — to have more than one #1 debut to her name — and only the second ever — besides Mariah Carey — to have two consecutive #1 debuts. (With her second single imminent and more goodwill behind her than ever, could Britney destroy this record, too?) Wow.

There is only one other artist who could have dropped a single, grant no radio interviews, no live performances, and no buzz campaign — and have it arrive to this kind of reception. His name was Michael Jackson.

This confirms that Britney’s “competition” is now taking place primarily in the history books, not the charts. The new argument should be about where she ranks amongst pop legends: others in her lane include Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Madonna. Lady Gaga is in the rearview mirror, trying to outdo contemporaries like Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha. (Compare Bad Romance’s first-day spins — 180 — with California Gurls’ — 200 — and Only Girl — 200.)  All of these artists have been on the scene for only a few years. That Britney is even being compared to them is merely testimony to the fact that she is sublimely relevant this far into her career in a way that Celine Dion was not fifteen years into hers. The interest in Britney has not let up and shows no signs of doing so: and right now, it’s for all the right reasons — her top-rate pop music and the imminent return of her legendary dancing skills.

Britney Spears has retained a mystique that other artists simply can’t come close to: an intangible aura that makes people want to know what her next move is — even nearly thirteen years after her debut. She doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks, she doesn’t have to embark on a media blitz, and she doesn’t have to “live her act” in public — indeed, her humility and down-to-earth sensibility is evident for all to see every time she goes out in some trashy weave or refuses to bother with make-up. She just doesn’t care about public image — and thank God for it. She lets her work speak for itself — and it does. She smiles, places her single on iTunes — “Oh, I’ll just leave this here” — and the entire pop world loses its mind. The power of Britney in that arena is like nothing since Michael Jackson. If we’re going to talk comparisons, Britney’s total domination should draw questions of whether she has cemented herself as being in the same ranks as Madonna and Michael Jackson yet, or whether it’s going to take another five years — not whether she can outdo the latest It-Girl who only hit it big two years ago.

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39 Comments

  1. LadyBritBrit
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    damn straight!

  2. Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ugh, this post is too correct. It’s unhealthy :/

  3. Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    OMFG, well written,
    Verrry well written.
    Thanks for this, u really opened up my mind.

  4. suzy
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    very well Written, lets get some “monsters” to read this. =]

  5. man
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    monsters are just britney fans that gave up on her when she started acting crazy! they dont really like gaga they just went to her because she present a fake image that won them over cough cough the devil…. anyhoo i’ve been sayin this for the longest! good article!

  6. ME
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This article is appalling. Michael Jackson and Britney Spears should never be compared. One is a timeless icon who writes produces dances and sings and the other is a girl who lackadaisically mumbles into a microphone and hand dances on stage.
    NO COMPARISON!

  7. ME
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As for britney spears and Gaga let me know when Britney spears can play and instrument or do a show a cappella.

    • Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Darling — if the qualifications for legendary status included playing an instrument, we’d have millions of legends.

      Being an icon is about more than playing a damn instrument.

      Although, yes, she has done that, too.

    • Brian
      Posted January 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      UMM, Britney has done acapella before and she plays piano and had played piano in previous tours. Do your research before typing ignorance.

  8. simon
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    michael jackson when he danced he did Playback too , like Britney

  9. ME
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Point being Britney Is barely a musician. She is a vocalist and to call her a legend is ridiculous. The most interesting parts of her celebrity come form her over exposed personal life. You would call Michael Jackson’s musical prowess genius, to use that same term with anything Britney Spears is laughable.

    And the point about Britney and Gaga was that Britney doesn’t have half the talent Gaga does.
    Though I would not call either of them legendary.

    • Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      How old are you? You weren’t around for her peak years, were you? Britney Spears used to be one of the best dancers on the planet. I’m confident that it’s still within her — and I hope she proves me right with the Hold It Against Me video.

      As a vocalist, I would say that Gaga is not necessarily “better” than Britney: merely different. Gaga, Christina, and Beyonce stans in particular mistake having a powerhouse voice for being a competent vocalist. But can you imagine Gaga trying to sing something like “Breathe On Me”? Or “Chocolate” by Kylie Minogue? No way: certain songs require an understated, sensual, sexy voice — not a powerhouse one. Britney, in contrast, could never pull off a rock ballad like “Speechless.”

      • Brian
        Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I agree. Different voices for different people and for this person who wrote this original comment, ME, is obviously young because they have NO idea of Britney in her peak years (Oops, Slave, Me Against the Music, Toxic years…) Britney is definitely a legend. And to say Gaga has more ‘talent’ NO. She knows how to get people’s attention by actin’ a fool on stage and staring in strange music videos. So, “ME”, please don’t be talking shit on my girl Britney. Gaga has NOTHING on Britney. Lets be real. And as in the article, the number of spins Gaga’s Bad Romance got vs Britney’s HIAM.. HA….!

      • Tonymizah!!
        Posted January 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Imma re-quote what ya’ll been reading so we can laughin our asses of together, haha:
        “Hold It Against Me first-day spin record to debut with an astonishing 700 plays — only to go on to defeat Eminem for the first-week spin record, too, racking up an unprecedented 4,600 plays”
        “Bad Romance ’s first- week spins — 180”
        …….
        …….
        …….
        Bad Romance —> 180 spins in a WEEK
        Hold It Against Me —> 700 spins in a DAY (and more than 4600 spins in a WEEK).
        Good day sir!
        P.S.
        Haters gon’ hate this, but ya’ll can kiss my lil’ yellow asian ass! LMFAO

    • Tonymizah!!
      Posted January 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What talent does gaga has?
      – Her voice = It’s a rip off of Christina Aguilera’s beautiful voice but in a more rock version and sounds a lil bit like a man
      – She can play instruments = So does Britney Spears! She play Piano and also learned to play guitar
      – A songwriter = Who do you think wrote Me Against The Music, Someday (I Will Understand), ect? And they were few of her best songs of all time
      – A dancer = If you call gaga a dancer, look at her FEET, see how many times she move from one spot to another spot, and then compare what u saw to Britney’s feets back in 2009 (the tour, live performance, ect). U’ll know what I mean. Gaga can barely dance! Britney is a DANCER. If u search on YouTube “Britney Spears Mannequin Rehearsal”, it was taken back in 2008 and she nailed it! She still has her killer signature move.
      ….
      Anything else?

  10. Jr
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    WOW EPIC POST!!!! LOVE YOUR SITE!!! Just comes to show hoe relevant and important Britney Still is to the pop scene 13 years later!!!! Every new pop artist is always going to be compared to Britney Spears just like Gaga, Kesha, Katy, etc are being compared to Britney today!!! EPIC POST!!!

  11. Brian
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Amazing article, very true. Britney is a living legend and no one can even compare in pop culture today, except the few listed above (Celine, Mariah, Madonna, MJ)
    I still find it amazing that she barely did any publicity for ‘Circus’ and still had 3 AMAZING singles and a HUGE grossing tour that made records and I think was like the #2 Top Grossing tour EVER?!?!?!?!?!?! OMFG She is amazing. Like for realzzzz. 🙂

  12. hector
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Alex knepper, you are an angel sent from God Himself to sthu gaga stans TRYING to compare her to brit-brit..
    May I say and remember all of us that when “3” came out it was #1 on the Hot 100 and britney till today hasn’t done ONE SINGLE performance or promo of that song. And Bad Romance, released at gaga’s VERY HIGH peak debuted at #9 with sales under 150,000 and then gaga started to promote it even in cereal boxes and not even with all that promo she could be #1. “3” still managed to be in the Top 10 for 3 whole months, I repeat, without ANY promo…
    An iconic status has very little to do with talent… when Born This Way is released with NO PROMO and hits #1 on the Hot 100 with sales OVER 400,000 (just like Hold It Against Me) we’ll talk about comparing Brit with ummmm, oh right, gaga 🙂

    • Tonymizah!!
      Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      LMAO, I worship you Hector!
      You’re God assisstant sent from paradise…

  13. sam
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    wow.. love britney ♥

  14. Ducky
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    I still think Gaga and Britney are each others competition. Why? Because they are the top two divas right now. That is why they are always being compared. Rihanna and Katy Perry have been extremely successful but haven’t made the impact that Gaga has. Britney needs to step up her game, or she will be over shadowed. But luckily she has. Britney is experimenting with sound, fashion, directors. I don’t like Gaga, but I can’t deny she’s a force to be reckon with.(for now, Gaga is unpredictable because she morphs into whatever sells at the moment so who knows that soulless creature will morph into in the future).

  15. ME
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is ridiculous. Logic and objective reasoning is useless here.

    By the way I’m old enough to have watched Britney while she was on the mickey mouse club.

    • LadyBritBrit
      Posted January 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      But do you have anything to bring to the table statistics wise?

  16. Tonymizah!!
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    …and Hold It Against Me by Britney Spears is now the #1 song on Billboard Hot 100! Chart will be refreshed by tomorrow.
    Two songs debuted at the top spot, twice IN A ROW. Waow!

  17. Jules
    Posted January 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So true. Britney Spears is a legend and Gaga fans should be grateful that some people are even comparing them. Gaga’s biggest competition is Kesha if anything.

  18. CCCC
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 4:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    “That Britney is even being compared to them is merely testimony to the fact that she is sublimely relevant this far into her career in a way that Celine Dion was not fifteen years into hers.”

    exactly. great article. I’m not a huge brittany fan but I admire her as an artist.

  19. n
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 1:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Oh please, Britney Spears, a legend. What a load of bullshit. Anyways most sane people know that Madonna Is The Queen Of Pop, Britney is just a f–king wannabe, and Lady Gaga is just a tranny.

  20. philippines
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    omG!!Loved your article.very well written.to be honest i love the songs of gaga but i love britney as a person.she is such an icon.when hold it against me was beaten by born this way i was really furious!!i love gaga songs but not so much of her as a n artist.i think she just puts on a show :/

  21. Jonathan Paramo
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    yeah……we now know what the story is…..BTW smashes HIAM and her second single TTWE is nowhere in sight….

    yes you do hate Lady Gaga, and yes you are jelous.

  22. Jamie
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t believe people are even deciding this as a competition. I love both of them, but I prefer Britney over Gaga anyday. You guys need to remember, Britney was having a breakdown of stress and so on, so don’t use that to hold it against her, and as far as dancing, she can still dance, give her say about a couple more years, you’ll see her knocking people off the lists, they won’t even make it back up. As for Gaga, her feet barely moves, probably just kicking her hips back and forth. And Gaga’s songs aren’t bad, but they’re simply just a fad to me, and the radio is what I have to stand up for me. Songs such as Bad Romance was really popular, when it first came out, but now, I barely hear it anymore, whereas songs like “Gimme More” “Toxic” and “Circus” to this day are still on the radio, with many listners. Ifd you’re talking about generations, I’m 13 this year, so if you still have to say things such as “You’re so last generation”, well, here I am, what are you going to say now?

    Plus, like many have stated already, Britney’s single “Hold it Against Me” made more spinds that Gaga’s songs, besides, like someone else said, Britney is still popular today, and Lady G is like in one day, out the next, then in, then out of the news. Plus, Britney is the third artist to ever have the #1 debut more than once, a feat that all of our current popular artists haven’t achieved yet, which I stand by as making Britney legendary.

    I don’t see how you haters of Britney out there can even say Britney is so yesterday, she’s still keeping up, wait 5 years later, or 10, and see who’ll stay more popular, the Princess of Pop Britney, or Lady Gaga.

  23. mj
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    they both suck really bad.

  24. Jose
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Who ever made this site is a completely retarded fuck, seriously Britney spears was a commercialized cashed cow back in the day and now she’s just a cow! Gaga is a musical fucking genius and the Madonna of our generation!

    • jaime
      Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      YUP! MOO. still making money though. fat betch, doesn’t even look happy on stage,

  25. jaime
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    her icon status means nothing to me, britney spears has shown us who she really is, therefore she will never have my love. I feel bad that she has made it into icon status.

  26. jaime
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink | Reply

  27. Paul
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Britney Spears is a puppet, not an artist, she has no “mystique”. Try and get into some music.

  28. Paul
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    By the way, i dont think much of Gargoyle either…

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