Britney Spears’ mere presence shut down the GLAAD Media Awards Thursday night.
She didn’t sing and she didn’t even say much. But just a couple minutes of Spears accepting an award at the event that honors inclusion onscreen was enough to disrupt the entire event.
Spears, a longtime LGBTQ advocate and gay icon, was at the Beverly Hilton to accept the Vanguard Award more than halfway into the show. But even before Spears took the mic, attendees were anticipating her arrival.
“Every time Britney does a runway walk on Instagram, a little gay child gets his wings,” said figure skater Adam Rippon at the start of awards. Queer Eye star Karamo Brown posed like Britney, arms straight and at his side, while he presented onstage.
And then Ricky Martin finally introduced her to a decisive standing ovation.
“Wow! This is so incredibly amazing,” she chirped.
— Carly Mallenbaum (@ThatGirlCarly) April 13, 2018
The pop star went into a very brief speech about how society has “put such an emphasis on what’s normal” and treats things that are different “as strange.”
She said: “To be able to express yourself as an individual through art is such a blessing.”
But it really didn’t matter what her highness Britney said in a room of loyal subjects, because they were primed to cheer for anything she uttered.
Post-Spears cameo, however, the show was left in disarray. The audience was quiet, people were out of their seats and the production seemed to stand still.
As host Wanda Sykes declared, “Britney has broken the show.”
Sykes tried to get back to handing out awards to deserving diverse TV shows, but the teleprompter didn’t work.
“Everyone has left their posts!” she exclaimed, before threatening to do some off-the-cuff standup. A stagehand brought her a tablet with a script.
And the show finally did go on, with Jim Parsons accepting the Stephen F. Kolzak Award for his openness and activism. But even he wasn’t over the fact that Britney had spoken previously.
“Britney got here before I did? The Queen should go last!” he said before thanking GLAAD “for putting me in a room with Britney Spears.”
Parsons had reasons to freak out about Spears’ appearance.
For one, he was hoping to cast her in an upcoming project. “I consider this my first step in my charm offensive to get her in it,” he said. And secondly, he said he’s devoted to the singer because she inadvertently helped him get into acting school.
As Parsons told it, when he was auditioning for prestigious graduate schools, he was “oh-so-nervous.”
It was the ’90s and the …Baby One More Time video was on TV constantly. Right before an important audition, the music video came on in Parson’s room.
“I remember watching (Britney) dance-walk down that school hallway in that Catholic school uniform with those cute little pigtails,” Parsons said. “And I remember feeling this sense of ‘Oh yeah, that’s it. You can do it. You go out there and do it like Britney, and you get it… So thank you, Britney!”