Continued from page 2

Dancers performed a medley of Spears’ most popular songs, iconic outfits and signature dance moves.

“This award means so much to me,” she said. “Especially on the night before Michael Jackson’s birthday. He had such a huge influence on me.”

But other celebs at the Video Music Awards said Spears was their big influence, including teen superstars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.

“She’s been a huge inspiration to me,” Gomez said. “I just think that she doesn’t really take no for an answer. A lot of people try to bring her down and maybe judge her too quickly, and she still makes a comeback and she’s still hot.”

Bieber called Spears “an icon,” saying, “She opened the doors for young people to do what they love.”

___

_ AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at www.twitter.com/APSandy.