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Harper's Bizarre 

Nude and pregnant Britney

If you had the balls five years ago to say that Britney Spears was never really that hot to begin with, then -- kudos. By now it's obvious her looks and talent are, and always have been, just north of average. Besides, we know that she has the same embarrassing life as anyone else, just with more money.

That Britney is in the midst of transforming herself into a celebrity mom, being interviewed in prime time by Matt Lauer and now pregnant and nude on the cover of the August Harper's Bazaar begs the question of just how far we've dropped our expectations of superstars. She's too young to get any props for being a hot mom á la Demi Moore, and the market for celebrity activist moms has already been cornered by Angelina Jolie. All Madonna ever did was bite black folks' dance moves, but Ms. Spears went ahead and pilfered Shar Jackson's baby daddy.

When Britney arrived on the scene, she had a bit of teenage mystique. All we knew was that she was an ex-Mouseketeer, a virgin and a "singer." Now? She's the inverse of Kelly Clarkson, the hardest working woman in the biz.

With looks just south of average and vocal chops that put Britney's to shame (but can't touch the likes of Christina Aguilera), Clarkson's made the most of not much. She was an open book on the first season of American Idol, but now we only hear from her when she's releasing a new hit video. Kelly has become the bankable -- if not artistically inspiring -- pop mainstay and Britney is fodder for Jay Leno.

Idol and its spawn -- America's Got Talent, The One, Rock Star, etc. -- have birthed a permanent subculture of entertainers who lack an edge simply because we've witnessed them fumbling their way to fame on live TV. How will VH1 make future episodes of Behind the Music about the current generation of stars? We already know all that we need or want to know about these people, and now we've even seen them naked.

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