Britney Spears may not sing at MTV’s Video Music Awards, but Christina Aguilera will.
Aguilera will join other top-name performers, including the Jonas Brothers, T.I., Pink, and Kid Rock, host Russell Brand announced Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on the backlot of the Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Brand bantered with Aguilera, who emerged from a limousine, and rapper T.I., who shimmied down a fire escape on a street made to look like New York.
“It’s going to be, actually, bloody exciting,” Brand said of the awards show, which will celebrate its 25th year on Sunday.
Brand, an English comedian largely unknown to U.S. audiences, displayed his brand of humor that can best be described with one British word: cheeky.
During Thursday’s presentation, he described the Jonas Brothers as “God’s favorite virgins” and racily commented on Aguilera’s physique.
Aguilera touted her upcoming appearance as her first televised performance since giving birth to son Max in January.
The comedian also poked fun at himself, saying that bulldozers were working overtime to keep his wild mane of hair in check.
Brand laced his remarks “bloody” and “‘ell” and a few words that are unprintable. But he also kept the buzz going about the VMAs, an awards show known for creating infamous pop culture moments. Almost as a footnote, he noted that Kanye West has signed on to close the show with a performance.
West has apparently mended his volatile relationship with MTV.
Last year, he famously promised not to return to the VMAs during a tirade he threw after losing in all five categories he was nominated for. The year before, he crashed the stage at the MTV Europe Awards after not winning for best video.
Brand, for his part, seems willing to deliver what MTV has described as a show that will be heavy on music and mischief.
Grabbing a megaphone, Brand led reporters through the Paramount backlot, delivering them at a soundstage where Kid Rock exploded on stage — in a pair of white slippers — for a rehearsal.
He also praised Spears, who will open the show, but won’t be performing. She could leave the backlot with more than she arrives with on Sunday. Spears has been nominated for three VMAs, including for video of the year for “Piece of Me.”
And a strong performance by her could erase some of the sting from her much ballyhooed performance of “Gimme More” at last year’s show.
There was no mention Thursday of Michael Jackson, who promoters have tried to lure to the show.
But the show already seems chock-full of two of the elements producers have promised: music and mayhem.