"Not Myself Tonight,” a single from Christina Aguilera’s latest album, might as well be the title for the most recent chapter of her life, too. The 30-year-old diva has careened through a year of personal and professional screw-ups — the dismal sales of her album, the cancellation of her summer tour,
Then came the one-two punch of being jailed for public intoxication, followed days later by news that one of her biggest hits was the target of a lawsuit and she may face a custody battle with her ex-husband.
At least she’s right in step with this season’s high-profile meltdown trend, headlined by Charlie Sheen. But the public response to Aguilera’s troubles has been different. Rather than treating the singer’s life like a sideshow, friends and fans seem both concerned for her welfare and defensive about allegations that she’s a trainwreck. They maintain that she continues to be the rare “real thing” — a truly fantastic singer — in an Auto-Tuned world.
Ken Ehrlich is the producer of this year’s Grammys, where Aguilera tripped and nearly fell off the stage following her performance last month.
“So she took a slight slip on some dark stairs,” he says. “What does that have to do with her remarkable version of ‘Ain’t No Way,’ acknowledged by no less than Aretha Franklin herself? She’s taken several unwarranted hits . . . since the Super Bowl.”At the Super Bowl, Aguilera butchered a line of the national anthem.
“That’s a great honor,” says a sports industry insider. “I think if you’re a performer that’s the ultimate stage. And I don’t think she delivered.”Put the error together with the slip at the Grammys seven days later, another trip and fall at the Golden Globes the previous month, and multiple accounts of boozing with her new boyfriend, and it’s reasonable to wonder — even amidst her producers’ denials — if Aguilera has a substance-abuse problem.
“So maybe she’s having a tough time!” observes Janice Dickinson, a reality-TV star and no stranger to ridicule or addiction, having just graduated from “Celebrity Rehab.” “Look at other celebrities of her caliber. I mean, look at Michael Jackson, look at Whitney Houston, look at Judy Garland. All singers who have been her predecessors.”Yikes. Not the company anybody wants to keep.
Aguilera’s team has approached her about going to rehab, but she rebuffed them, reports Us Weekly. And she won’t get any tough talk from her new beau, Matt Rutler, who caused her arrest March 1. He was pulled over for driving under the influence and she got tossed in the clink because, police say, she had drunk so much that she “was not capable of taking care of herself.”
Whether back luck or bad choices, one unfortunate event has seemed to follow another, and they all seem vaguely out of character.
The onetime Disney Mouseketeer previously avoided trouble in the public eye. While her videos may be risque, she’s kept a composed figure over the years, married for five years and mother to 3-year-old son Max.
But her life has run off the rails this past year, leading to her split from spouse Jordan Bratman in October. Then she pulled a move reminiscent of the old Robert Downey Jr., attending a party at the home of actor Jeremy Renner and passing out in his bed, much to the actor’s surprise. “Who comes to someone’s birthday party that they don’t know and gets in their bed?!” he said in Us.
But, suggests one expert, her star status may be unfairly exaggerating a fairly normal response. Who among us has not acted out while dealing with a devastating split?
“People handle breakups and divorce in a variety of ways,” says Manhattan psychotherapist and advice columnist Jonathan Alpert. “Some people drink to cope with the emotions. And when they’re in the spotlight, they’re magnified.”And you can’t say the singer isn’t staying in the game. She just signed on as a judge on the new reality show “The Voice,” starting April 26. It’s executive produced by reality-TV guru Mark Burnett, who remains confident in her.
“Christina has a perfect voice,” he tells The Post via e-mail. “She will be invaluable to the aspiring singers on this series.”And at least one of her problems isn’t, technically, her responsibility. The lawsuit involving her 2006 single “Ain’t No Other Man” is directed at Sony Records for failing to clear the rights to a song sample.
Still, it’s a badly-timed news at a moment when she can’t really afford another blow. So where does she go from here to turn things around? Several insiders offered their opinions as to how Aguilera moves forward.
"I think friends can play a crucial role,” says Alpert. “I usually advise people to focus on the consequences of what the drinking or drug use is costing her.”And there’s at least one person out there who’s offering to help.
“If she wants, I could be her friend and help her out. I could take her to a [12-step] meeting,” says Dickinson. “I think she’s amazing. She’s the only one of all of ’em that can really sing.”Former Lady Gaga producer Rob Fusari agrees. He thinks Aguilera needs to reinvent her sound (which, on “Bionic,” was widely and unfavorably compared to Gaga’s).
“She needs to do what Mick Jagger did: sing a melody straight, without the bells and whistles,” he says. “Her vocal tone is the best we have right now, second to none.”
- May 2010: “Not Myself Tonight” single flops, summer tour canceled
- June 2010: New album “Bionic” released to bad reviews and sales
- Sept. 2010: Separates from husband Jordan Bratman
- Oct. 2010: Files for divorce
Nov. 2010: “Burlesque” released to bad reviews and box office
- Dec. 2010: Screams at and argues with mother at New Year’s Eve party
- Jan. 2011: Passes out in Jeremy Renner’s bed at his birthday party; spotted drinking and crying at LA nightclub The Dime
- Feb. 2011: Trips on red carpet at Golden Globes; screws up lyrics to national anthem at Super Bowl; almost falls off stage at Grammys
- March 2011: Arrested for public intoxication; lawsuit filed against her song “Ain’t No Other Man”
I think that Christina has definitely been having a hard time. We are all rooting for her and have faith she'll bounce back. I inserted some edits to this news article, striking out statements that are just lazy researching. Burlesque is creeping up on $100 million worldwide, and if they are too dumb to see that, I feel that discredits them as a news source. But it is great to hear that people within the entertainment industry are supporting as well, which is the sole reason I wanted to share this bit of news with you.