The confusion surrounding Britney Spears' vocals on her single with will.i.am, "Scream & Shout," intensifies. As if the peculiar British accent wasn't already confusing enough,
now recording artist Eve has called into doubt whether the female vocals heard on the track are even Britney's at all.
On Bravo's Watch What Happens: Live, when host Andy Cohen asked what his guests — Eve and Nigella Lawson — what they thought of Spears' accent in the song, Eve responded, "I heard that might not be Britney." Gasp!
RELATED: Oops! She Did it Again: Britney Spears and Jason Trawick Break Up
Andy followed up, "It's someone else in the studio?" To which Eve replied, "That's what I heard. But you know, I don't know. It could be Britney… but I heard it wasn't. I don't know though, I don't know." So basically, Eve knows nothing.
Britney's camp, of course, vehemently denies Eve's "allegations." A rep for Spears tells MTV News that what Eve said was "completely not true." "Britney absolutely sings on 'Scream & Shout,'" her rep says.
While it seems like Eve's words are hollow, even more interesting is our willingness to believe them — and our overall lack of surprise at the prospect of Spears' vocal fraud. While Beyoncé lip-syncing to her own, pre-recorded vocals at President Obama's inauguration was responsible for the jaw drop heard round the world, the prospect of Britney's name being plastered on a single on which she did not even sing illicit little more than a, "Huh. Wouldn't surprise me."
REPORT: Britney Spears to be Fired From 'The X Factor' — Report
Because, as much as Britney fans like to trot out the video of Spears' 1992 appearance on Star Search, Britney has never really been known for her vocals. Britney is about performance, about the total package, "the X factor" (also the name of a show where, ironically, she didn't fair so well as a judge). No one listened to "Toxic" or "Till the World Ends" — or, going back even further, "Oops!… I Did It Again" or "Baby One More" — for the singing. The voice on Spears' tracks has been tweaked, manipulated, and manufactured so much it barely sounds human. To put it frankly, Britney was never an artist you really wanted to hear sing live.
But how far can we suspend disbelief? Do we really need Britney to stand in a recording booth, knowing that her voice will be altered beyond recognition anyway? Would be be okay if Britney's "vocals" were synthesized completely by a computer, as long as her airbrushed-to-perfection face was on the cover of the album? What if another singer, as Eve hints, willingly allowed Spears to commandeer her voice, Singin' in the Rain style? Would we let that one slip, too?
RELATED: We 'Scream & Shout' At Britney Spears And Willi.i.am's New Music Video
The question is complicated even more by the fact that the Britney package isn't worth nearly as much as it once was. Spears is no longer the dancing sexpot she once was, to say the least. As Britney's sparkle fades, she has become a plastic shadow of her former self. And if you take away her voice, what do you have left?