Whatever Happened To Christina Aguilera?
After catching the highlights of the MTV VMA's 2011 last night, with all of the attention on Britney Spears, I couldn't help but wonder, what happened to Christina Aguilera? This question has probably been posed time and time again, as Christina hasn't really been in the spotlight for well over 5 years now. She started off so strong, way ahead of Britney in fact, so how did she end up as that one forgotten pop star that once was?
Britney Vs. Christina
This all goes over a decade back to the initial rivalry between Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It was prophesized by MTV and media all over that in this war, there would only be one survivor, if any. While both were going fairly strong, it was obvious that Christina was the one with the advantage. Christina Aguilera had a:
- Better Voice - Everyone knows and agrees, Christina had the ability to hit a wider range of notes and better consistency. Her voice was powerful and she could even sing great live, especially for a teenage pop star. Britney was at best mediocre in this department, she had a decent studio voice but it's a wonder if she ever even sang live.
- Better Look - While heavily opinionated, for the most part Christin Aguilera was deemed to be better looking than her rival. Christina had what you would call natural beauty, where she seemed like the kind of person who could wake up and still look like a runway model, whereas Britney was more Hollister, if you know what I mean. Britney Spears did however manage to earn a stronger sex appeal which I'll discuss a bit later on.
- Better line-up of singles - If we compare the debut albums between Christina and Britney, you'll notice instantly that Christina was miles ahead. Britney's only number one single was her first, Baby One More Time. In fact, contrary to what people may have thought, that was her only number 1 single until about 9 years later when Womanizer came out. Her other singles charted at 10, 21, and 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still fairly decent. Christina Aguilera on the other hand landed 3, THREE, number 1 singles! Those included Genie in a Bottle, What a Girl Wants, and Come On Over, respectively. She had 1 other single that charted at number 3, a position that Britney never again reached until Gimme More in 2007. On top of that, Christina's song Reflection was also featured in the film Mulan.
Where Did Christina Go Wrong?
With all of these advantages over Britney, where could Christina have possibly gone wrong? In all honesty, it's a wonder. With such a powerful start to her career, how did she end up like this? One way of looking at it is Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry. While Katy Perry has had more chart success, Lady Gaga has a much wider appeal. Lady Gaga has outsold more concerts and albums, similar to the way Britney did back in the day.
Christina's last number 1 single to date was her shared single Lady Marmalade with P!nk, Lil' Kim, and Mya (until her recent collaboration with Maroon 5 in Moves Like Jagger). She headed for such a downwards spiral after this that the world would continue to forget about her until 10 years later, she wouldn't even be mentioned at the MTV awards. Was she even invited? Would she have bothered to come if she was? Does anyone even care? Quite frankly, no.
Right, so where did Christina Aguilera go wrong? First and foremost, she had too many gaps in between her albums:
1999 - Baby One More Time
1999 - Christina Aguilera
2000 - Oops! I Did it Again
2002 - Stripped
2001 - Britney
2006 - Back To Basics
2003 - In The Zone
2010 - Bionic
2007 - Blackout
2008 - Circus
2011 - Femme Fatale
As you can see, Britney was constantly pushing out singles year after year for 5 years straight. The one year gap she had between Britney and In The Zone was due to her movie being released. What was Christina doing during her gaps? All I know is she was working on some Spanish album that never saw the light of day in the English speaking world. Britney took an extended break after In The Zone where she got married, had kids, and went crazy. Not for a moment though, in the last 12 years of her career, has Britney Spears ever been out of the spotlight. There was just something always up with her, beyond her music, that made her prominent on TV, Radio, and magazines worldwide. I still have trouble believing that she's already accomplished so much and she isn't even 30 yet.
Britney Spears is an icon. She won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard for a reason. Her music videos have always been memorable, whether you're an avid fan or not. From the iconic school girl outfit, to the tight red jumpsuit, to the raunchy pink thongs over her pants, etc... And then she has her roster of MTV performances, each more controversial than the previous. There was her skin colored outfit at the 2000 VMA's, and then her I'm a Slave 4 U performance with a tiger in her cage and snake wrapped around her neck. The latter of which was Ranked by Billboard to be the 2nd best MTV performance of all time, only behind the King Of Pop himself. Speaking of which, 20 year old Ms Spears performed alongside Michael Jackson himself at the 2002 MTV awards.
Wait, wasn't this article about Christina Aguilera? Right, so at the 2003 MTV awards, Britney and Christina would perform side-by-side with Madonna. Probably the most scandalous performance the stage has ever seen, as they both shared a kiss with the Pop "Queen."
Of course, as far as most people are aware Christina didn't even have the kiss. They probably don't even know she performed that day. Again, why is it that Christina always missed the spotlight? She had her fair share of controversy right? Not really, most of Christina Aguilera's daring moves were seen as tasteless. Dirrty was trashy and skanky while I'm a Slave 4 U was sexy. Years later Christina did Not Myself Tonight, and truly, she was not. Most bluntly passed her off as a Lady Gaga wannabe at that point. And who is she kidding, if Christina is going to try and do something big, at least make it original. Not Myself Tonight was plain and utter garbage. It wasn't even worth Lady Gaga, it wasn't even worth Ke$ha. That album was just a complete fail I don't know what anyone behind its production was thinking. Christina Aguilera recently won a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, which is quite possibly her biggest accomplishment in the last 5 years. Why she won it? I really don't know, but Britney won it 10 years ago so big deal.
Britney has never really changed, she delivers what everyone expects. Auto-tuned catchy dance beats that require minimal effort on her part. She's just the face behind other people's work, and it sells. Christina on the other hand is what we would call trying too hard. She re-invents herself too much and people don't really buy into it because she doesn't even know who she herself is. Christina Aguilera has to really step up her game in the right direction if she ever wants to be in the spotlight again.