LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A year after her calamitous comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears has garnered a third nomination for this year's show, but it remained unclear whether she would dare a repeat appearance.
MTV, which has been rolling out nominations for various categories in recent weeks, named Spears on Friday as one of five candidates in the running for its coveted Video of the Year award, for the clip to her single "Piece of Me."
The same title already has earned her nominations for best female video and best pop video.
In the category for Video of the Year, she is competing against the Jonas Brothers' "Burnin Up," Chris Brown's "Forever," Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up" and the Ting Tings' "Shut Up and Let Me Go."
The nominees for best rock video, also named on Friday, are Paramore for "CrushCrushCrush," Slipknot's "Psychosocial," Linkin Park's "Shadow of the Day," Foo Fighters' "The Pretender" and Fall Out Boy's cover of the Michael Jackson hit "Beat It."
But Spears' nominations remain particularly tantalizing because of mounting speculation about whether she will take a chance at returning to the MTV Video Music Awards with memories still fresh from her much-derided appearance last year.
Spears herself added to the hype by recently filming a series of promotional spots for the upcoming awards show with a real-life, 9,000-pound elephant literally in the room with her.
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 Spears but a ratings boon for MTV.
She ended up drawing a torrent of ridicule for lumbering around on stage in an ill-fitting black bikini as she lip-synced her way through the dance number.
With Spears said to be back in the recording studio this summer working on her next album, MTV has made the most of the suspense surrounding a possible return to the VMAs by the 26-year-old pop icon, refusing to say whether she might appear as either a presenter or performer.
Spears has yet to ever win an MTV Video Music Award.
The 25th annual edition of the VMAs, long considered a looser, hipper version of the Grammys, will be broadcast live on MTV on September 7, returning to Los Angeles for the first time in a decade.
The show will be hosted by British comedian Russell Brand from the recent film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." (Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)