Britney Spears: She's Not There

Screw the backlash to the backlash to the backlash! This must be said: Britney Spears's Blackout is an astounding music record. Go put it on now, and just try to argue that "Heaven on Earth" isn't so much a better faux-Joy Division song than anything in years—and these are the same years that every person with a Y chromosome has been busily trying to write faux-Joy Division songs. (If the great switch-ending of the barely aspirated verse "Your touch / Your taste / Your breath / Your face / Your hands / Your head (: o!) / You're sweet" doesn't count as syllepsis, I'm burning every book I own by Quintilian.) But I'm not here to discuss the recent Joy Division biopic Control; I'm here to discuss the recent Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not Here. Or rather to suggest a user-participatory way to get us the Britney Spears world tour we're all starving for, since Britney Spears the woman seems rather out of commission right now.

Because, as smarty-pants semiotician and Not There director Todd Haynes has shown us, performance (or was that performativity?) is all about having multiple people play the same "individual" even if that individual is really famous Bob Dylan and those people are little kids or black or Cate Blanchett.

Thus, because new single "Piece of Me" deserves to be lip-synced to in the middle of an elaborate Cirque du Soleil–style stage show, I propose that some prestigious, and less hazardous, stars take the road as Britney surrogates, each doing a few songs a night. Just like in the movie, different performers will embody her various essences (or is that non-essence?).

But who?!

This is the fun part. I'll start.

As "Baby, one More Time" Britney, Zac Efron!

As "Stronger" Britney, Michele Williams. (Yeah, Heath's Dylan was the lamest one anyway)

As "Gimme More" Britney, Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Great character actor; all about the craft.)

As Umbrella-Bayonet Britney, Delores O'Riordan. (Because Sinead O'Connor is too obvious and even though "Zombie" made the world safe for Rihanna's "Umbrella", who laughed at Brit once like a lunch-period mean girl.)

Who has the je ne sais quoi (or coif) to play the last decade of Britney? "Toxic" Britney? Crossroads Britney? Mrs. Jason Alexander Britney? This (broadly speaking) is really not as hard as it looks. Go on, try.