With her highly-publicized, highly-paid job as a judge on The X Factor this year, 2012 has been one of the most visible for Britney Spears, publicity-wise, since her breakdown in 2007. But despite her $15 million paycheck, it's pretty clear—from her forced smiles and pained expressions—that she would rather be doing anything else. If the eyes are the window to the soul, hers have invisible metal bars and behind them is someone desperate to escape captivity.
The first day of The X Factor auditions seemed OK. Britney was a little stiff, which maybe could be chalked up to nerves at having to "perform" in front of large crowds of people with no choreography or explicit directions other than to "be herself."
By the third round of auditions things had devolved considerably. Her smile reveals a mouthful of veneers while her eyes reveal an aggressive lack of interest.
The X Factor premiere party was when the cracks in the facade morphed into chasms. And just to be clear, these were not the worst pictures from the bunch, but rather, a selection of the "average" faces she made at the event.
This was as pulled-together as it got for Britney at The X Factor finalist party. Her entire walk down the red carpet was like this: confusion mixed with extreme discomfort. It's almost like she could smell her own poor performance and realized how much it stunk.
And then this happened—all year long. A little bit in 2011, too. Googling "Britney Spears foot mystery" yields over 8 million results.
It's constantly like she's seeing her coworkers for the first time after she got super wasted at the company holiday party. She's kind of cringing, but trying to unconvincingly laugh off her embarrassment. Except instead of "coworkers" it's "the world" and instead of "got super wasted at the company holiday party" it's "shaved her her head, walked around in public wearing only period-stained panties, cried on street corners, and then was involuntarily committed to an institution."
She spent the entirety of her 2012 red carpet time with her arms stiffly at her sides.
This is not the face of a person who is OK with what she's doing.