Britney Spears to raise curtain on MTV awards

Thu Sep 4, 2008 1:29am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britney Spears is to star at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, a year after a calamitous comeback performance at the same award ceremony. But this time the pop singer won't be performing.

Spears will be opening the 25th annual edition of the MTV VMAs on Sunday at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, according to MTV's website.

That means she will be on hand if she wins an award. Spears has garnered three nominations for the clip to her single "Piece of Me" -- Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Video of the Year.

"MTV has long played an important role in my career," Spears said in a statement. "How can I not be there to kick off their 25th VMAs? I'm excited to open the entire show, to say hi to my fans and to be nominated."

Exactly how she planned to open the show remained unclear. In previous appearances she has kissed Madonna and performed with a writhing snake.

Spears has yet to win an MTV Video Music Award, and her nominations this year are particularly tantalizing after her much-derided appearance in 2007, when she lip-synched her way through a dance number in an ill-fitting black bikini.

Coming off two marriages, two children and two stints in rehab, Spears sought to launch a career comeback on last year's show with a performance of the song "Gimme More" that proved a publicity bomb for her but a ratings boon for MTV.

But with Spears said to be cleaning up her act and back in the recording studio this summer, working on a new album, MTV has made the most of the suspense surrounding her possible return to the VMAs, refusing until Wednesday to say whether she might appear as a presenter or performer.

The MTV VMAs, long considered a hipper version of the Grammys, will be broadcast live on MTV on September 7, hosted by British comedian Russell Brand.

In the Video of the Year category, Spears is competing against the Jonas Brothers' "Burnin Up," Chris Brown's "Forever," The Pussycat Dolls' "When I Grow Up" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by the Ting Tings.


<p>Britney Spears performs at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas September 9, 2007. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>