I must confess: Child stars have an expiration date

Amanda Gabriele

It was the one thing I consistently looked forward to everyday after school. I would sit down at the coffee table with my math homework open, yet did not complete a single problem because my seventh-grade eyes were focused intently on the television in front of me.

For one hour, my heart, mind and soul devoured the 10 commandments of pop music stardom: Total Request Live.

The adrenaline rush of not knowing who would make it to number one or which videos were going into retirement made for remarkable afternoons. The dream of my adolescent self was to be escorted by a VJ out of Times Square and into the MTV studios to witness the action first-hand.

Constantly calling friends to complain or rejoice about the top three videos was worth hearing my parents yell, “Amanda, stop tying up the phone line!” It was necessary to know what the TRL buzz would be about on the afternoon bus. Yet, what drove me to watch it every day was not so much the music or the profound discussions, it was the dancing.

I spent countless hours learning every move from ‘NSYNC and Destiny’s Child videos. However, no man, woman or band had the moves quite like Ms. Britney Spears. After the “Baby One More Time” video was released, I felt so cool going to the mall, clad in attitude and my Catholic school girl uniform. I was set; my career goals now read choreographer and music video back-up dancer.

The days of pop-star royalty have come and gone, for me anyway. The luster of TRL has faded away, music taste has evolved and childish job fantasies have transformed into sensible professions. You know that phrase “leave the party at its peak”? I really wish someone would have left that memo on Britney’s desk. I guess there have been some great pop comebacks in the past, but if you are going to do it, please do it well.

That fateful opening performance for the 2007 VMAs was a complete catastrophe, and I could not help but feel a bit sad to witness my favorite dancing diva fall hard from her throne. It is a cruel situation when your back-up dancers look better than you. The routine was amazing when you looked at everyone except Britney.

She stood on stage swaying around and tripping over her three inch heels while her dancers stole the show. Ms. Spears used to own that stage each and every time the curtains were drawn, but now I feel let down by my beloved superstar.

Looking through the wreckage and into the light, I see a valuable lesson to be learned from this mess. As college students, we are entitled to act like drunken buffoons in public, be lazy when we please and walk home from parties at 8 a.m. in the same clothes from the night before.

Unfortunately, the time will come when making a scene in the street will cease to be funny and going to work will be mandatory. It is a fact of life, and we have to deal with it.

This is a message I wish Britney would have received before she decided to publicly tarnish her image. So long my beloved dancing queen, and thanks for the memories.

Amanda Gabriele is a senior fashion merchandising major. Contact her at [email protected].