** FILE ** Singer Britney Spears poses on the press line at the Scandinavian Style Mansion party in Los Angeles in this Dec. 1, 2007 file photo. Kevin Federline has agreed Friday Feb. 22, 2008 to give ex-wife Britney Spears visitation rights with their two young sons. Federline's attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan says the couple has "agreed to a modification of the court's order," that had stripped Spears of her visitation rights. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Britney Spears may not sing at MTV's Video Music Awards, but Christina Aguilera will.
Aguilera will join other top-name performers, including the Jonas Brothers, T.I., Pink, and Kid Rock, host Russell Brand announced Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on the backlot of the Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Brand bantered with Aguilera, who emerged from a limousine, and rapper T.I., who shimmied down a fire escape on a street made to look like New York.
"It's going to be, actually, bloody exciting," Brand said of the awards show, which will celebrate its 25th year on Sunday.
Brand, an English comedian largely unknown to U.S. audiences, displayed his brand of humor that can best be described with one British word: cheeky.
During Thursday's presentation, he described the Jonas Brothers as "God's favorite virgins" and racily commented on Aguilera's physique.
Aguilera touted her upcoming appearance as her first televised performance since giving birth to son Max in January.
The comedian also poked fun at himself, saying that bulldozers were working overtime to keep his wild mane of hair in check.
Brand laced his remarks "bloody" and "'ell" and a few words that are unprintable. But he also kept the buzz going about the VMAs, an awards show known for creating infamous pop culture moments. Almost as a footnote, he noted that Kanye West has signed on to close the show with a performance.
And he seemed an apt host to deliver what MTV has described as a show that will be heavy on music, and mischief.
Grabbing a megaphone, Brand led reporters through the Paramount backlot, delivering them at a soundstage where Kid Rock exploded on stage - in a pair of white slippers - for a rehearsal.
He also praised Spears, who will open the show, but won't be performing. She could leave the backlot with more than she arrives with on Sunday. Spears has been nominated for three VMAs, including for video of the year for "Piece of Me."
And a strong performance by her could erase some of the sting from her much ballyhooed performance of "Gimme More" at last year's show.
There was no mention Thursday of Michael Jackson, who promoters have tried to lure to the show.
But the show already seems chock-full of two of the elements producers have promised: music and mayhem.