LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Britney Spears episode of TV musical comedy "Glee" drew 13.1 million viewers and triggered a stream of Twitter congratulations on Wednesday from the former pop princess herself.
Fox television said Tuesday's episode, which featured cover versions of five of Spear's biggest hits and a brief cameo appearance by the singer herself, drew the second biggest audience in "Glee" history.
"I loved it! Thank you guys SO much for making this happen," Spears, 28, said in a series of Tweets to her fans.
"Glee" is the darkly comic tale of a high school show choir that sings cover versions of pop, Broadway and hip-hop tunes. Tuesday's episode was the show's third affectionate tribute to pop icons. The music of Madonna and Lady Gaga was featured earlier this year but neither appeared on the show.
By Wednesday, four of the five "Glee" cover versions of Spears music were among the top 10 songs on the iTunes charts.
But Britney's "Glee" drew only mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly's Margaret Lyons said on Wednesday that although the episode "rocked some dead-on Britney Spears recreations...it wasn't the slam-dunk I had hoped it would be."
Spears praised the performance of "Glee" actress Heather Morris, who sang, danced and recreated the pop videos for "I'm a Slave 4 U" and "Me Against the Music".
And Britney tweeted that watching actress Lea Michele's cover version of her flirty schoolgirl pop video debut "...Baby One More Time" in 1999 -- "brings back so many memories! Feels like yesterday."
The "Glee" episode focused on the highs of Spears' career and her place as a worldwide pop culture phenomenon who has sold over 100 million records.
Spears suffered a personal and career meltdown in 2007 and 2008 after a short-lived marriage and two children. She made her comeback with the 2008 album "Circus", followed by a successful world tour, but has adopted a lower public profile since then.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte