Britney Spears appeared center stage in a wedding dress and sang the first verse of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" like a pro. Then Christina Aguilera showed up, raven-haired, but also in wedding gear, to give power and range to the chorus. The girls half-heartedly danced a duet tribute to Madonna's 1984 bridal writhe. And at last Madonna herself emerged, wearing thigh-high vinyl boots, a top hat, and tails. She sang a little, in her usual Rex Harrison bark-it-out way.
But the trio did have a surprise in store. Madonna had come as the man—the sugar daddy, maybe, twirling the little girls, keeping them in line, and finally kissing Spears. She also kissed Aguilera, to be fair, but the camera barely registered it, and we all know that Madonna has long leered at Britney. Britney swooned into the kiss, her mouth soft.
The small thrill of this kiss was real to me because, though girls making out with girls is an old party stunt, this time it came off as female lechery: overmuscled, rich, landed matriarch Madonna (in tails, no less) preying on sweetie Spears, who (in wedding white) hasn't even had a first marriage yet. "Hollywood," Madonna cooed as she brushed hair tenderly from Britney's face. "How could it hurt you when it looks so good?" I expect we'll see this wise-woman/callow-girl romance around more now. Britney and Madonna certainly recalled the matchup in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle of smiley Cameron Diaz with shrewd Demi Moore, another pure protein icon of perimenopause.
So that was it for the white girls. Missy Elliott soon invaded the stage, the brides and groom deferred, and the number grew chaotic and negligible. From there, the night then went on to other featurings.