By Gretchen Hansen
Updated March 13, 2008 at 06:26 PM EDT

Last night I had the distinct privilege of attending the Blackout Ball, hosted by Jive Records and Miss Britney Spears. Sure, it was an online affair and anyone with an Internet connection was invited and if you ask me, the rhyming couplet e-vite was a little tacky. But a ball, how fabulous! After obtaining the necessary “secret words” for “access past the velvet rope,” I got to yuck it up with other Brit fans (YOU_WANA_PECE_O_ME, BRiTsBoY, and so on) in the Blackout “cocktail hour chat room.” (Cocktails were strictly virtual.) It was there we waited anxiously for the cyber-gala’s main event, the premiere of Britney’s new music video for her third single from Blackout, “Break The Ice.”

After watching the video, I can honestly say that Britney has never looked better. She’s wearing a tight black bodysuit number and thigh-high boots, which really accentuate her slim, sexy figure. She performs some unbelievable stunts (back dive off a skyscraper, through the glass ceiling of a nightclub, and into a pool of water) and breaks out martial arts moves that I had previously thought physically impossible (the 360 degree spin of her lower leg, moving fluidly as if disconnected from her knee… impressive!) Her long, tasseled blond tresses look gorgeous, and her lip-synching can only be described as impeccable. Yes, Britney looks spectacular in “Break The Ice.”

I guess my major problem with the video was that it was fully animated.

In a surprisingly boring, ill-conceived continuation of her “Toxic”video, Britney is surrounded by mutant/man hybrids in suits, as well as SWAT teams with shields and lightsabers. She successfully battles themoff, and, after a series of hand scans and passwords and key cards andlight beams and flashing DANGER! signs and explosions (give me asecond, I might be having a seizure), she successfully locates, uh,herself, floating lifelessly in a water capsule. It ends with Britneyblowing up aqua-Brit, and then leaping from a building, nearly beingengulfed in flames.

So if the mutants are the “industry,” and aqua-Brit is the oldBritney we know and love, and new super-sleek-black-leotard Brit is theNEW Brit, whose solution is to destroy her old image and nukeeverything, then I have to ask:

Why animated? And “To Be Continued”? With virtually no connection tothe song, aside from an occasional flying shard of glass that could bemisconstrued as ice? She’s supposed to be breaking ice, not the heartsof her fans, right?

So PopArtWatchers, when you hoped Brit would reinvent her image, were you wishing she’d go anime?