"One More Time" for Britney Spears?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:05pm EST
 
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A year ago, Britney Spears was taking court-ordered drug and alcohol tests, had fired her managers, was losing custody of her kids, and some journalists were preparing her obituary.

This week, she was caring for her children like any mother would when she rushed 2-year-old Jayden James to a hospital after a bad reaction to something he ate. As for her career, only one week ago she was on stage performing with Madonna and on the brink of an extraordinary musical comeback.

Industry watchers wonder whether Spears, 26, can win back the young, fickle fans now accustomed to watching her fall apart, or if she can stage a comeback like pop diva Mariah Carey. She spent several years in a slump before rebounding to charttopper status with 2005 album "The Emancipation of Mimi."

"You can only have so many second chances and this is definitely one of those now or never moments," said Ellen Carpenter, a senior editor at Spin magazine.

Ten years after she burst onto the world stage as a perky 17-year-old and scored hit songs including "... Baby One More Time," Spears seems to have pulled her life and career out of the toilet with a hit single, a new album due out in December, a tell-all documentary and talk of her first tour since 2004.

Spears' first single "Womanizer," off her Dec 2. album "Circus," was a good omen. It leapt to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in October and went to No.1 on iTunes charts in Canada, France, Spain and Sweden.

But in an era of falling record sales, the big money in the music industry is made through live shows. Spears, who has done only a handful of live performances since 2005, is expected to launch a world tour early next year.

"Nothing in this economic environment is a slam dunk," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert magazine Pollstar.   Continued...

 
<p>Singer Britney Spears performs with Madonna during Madonna's "Sticky and Sweet" tour at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles November 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>