Insiders Say Who The Next Britney Spears Is

January 3, 2005 By Jordan Miller

The first question is easy: Who’s going to be the next Britney?

The next isn’t: Which Britney is it?

There is Britney the pristine bubble gum poppette, Britney the chart topper, Britney the tabloid trollop, Britney the what-the-heck-happened-to-your-career-honey? . . .

So ask a gaggle of music industry folks the easy question, and you’ll get some hard answers.

“Who’s going to be the next Britney is more about who gets lucky,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the music industry magazine Pollstar. “It obviously isn’t always about records. There is always some intangible about what will appeal to the public, not always who might be the best singer.”

“This whole little micro-generation of bubblegum teenyboppers are trying to outsex each other,” WBMX-FM (98.5) music director Mike Mullaney noted, “and I just don’t recall this happening back in the days of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.”

So who’s in line to be the next mega-hyped, bigger-than-life pop queen? Who could fill Spears’ stilettos?

Here’s what music insiders had to say about the usual suspects, along with a couple of ringers:

Ashlee Simpson: “It’s wait-and-see since ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ” said Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research. “Jessica is very talented and has a great voice, and it’s almost as if her dad said, ‘I have a wholesome pop star, now I need a rocker in the family,’ ” added WQSX-FM (93.7) program director Jerry McKenna. “Her whole thing just seems very contrived to me.”

“Ashlee was one possibility,” Bongiovanni said, “though it’s hard to tell how much damage she did with her lip syncing on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ ”

Hillary Duff: “She’s already proven herself to be a star in several different art forms,” said Bongiovanni, “if you can call what she does ‘art.’ ”

“She’s similar to Britney in that she has that wholesome bubblegum image,” added McKenna.

Kelly Clarkson: “She’s been such a nice, All-American girl,” said Mullaney, “but you know she is going to give in to temptation and become everything opposite of what she represents now. It’s inevitable. She’s going to end up face down in the Viper Room. We all know it’s going to happen. It’s only a matter of when.”

Usher: Who says the next Britney has to be a female? “Despite the whole nature of of his `Confessions’ project,” said Ross, “he never had the personal-life-out-of-control image that Britney has, perhaps because he doesn’t keep getting married.”

JoJo: “If you judge by the buzz in the teen magazines and general press,” Bongiovanni said, “then JoJo keeps popping up. The real young kids are into her, but the problem with that audience is that its attention span is about 15 minutes.”

“You’d like to hope that a girl like JoJo could keep her Massachusetts and Boston roots and possibly become a pop star without a Las Vegas wedding and Mexican divorce,” added Mullaney.

Lindsay Lohan: “It’s interesting that Lindsay’s ‘Rumors’ hung in there longer than Britney’s similarly themed ‘My Prerogative,’ ” said Ross, possibly a sign that it’s time for the, er, bustier to be passed.

“Her records have yet to become hits,” Mullaney said, “but boy oh boy is she ready to become the next Paris Hilton. Where’s the video?” She’s recently been seen with Colin Farrell, too, and when you hang out with the baddest of the bad boys . . .

“The person who can encompass most of Britney is Lindsay,” McKenna said. “She seems to be all over the place these days, a celebrity than anything else. She’s the media’s darling and gets noted for who she’s with as opposed to what she is actually doing with her career.

“Hopefully, she won’t turn into as big a mess as Britney has become.” thanks

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