Doin' the Country Slide

6/19/2006 4:44 PM PDT

Doin' the Country Slide

Britney Spears is not sliding into obscurity, but she seems to be sliding back to Louisiana. We've noticed some significant Southern changes in Britney:

1. Her clothes.  She's been dressing quite a bit less glamorous recently.  Brit used to be a fashion plate and whatever she wore was the height of chic. Now she's more likely to be seen in cutoffs than in Chanel.

2. Her accent. Ms. Spears' diction has slid into territory that might be kindly described as "traditional Southern."  In her recent NBC interview, Britney's answers to Matt Lauer's questions showed her deep south heritage, not just in what she said ("... with my Dad, I'd sit in his lap and drive. We're country!") but in how she said it.   Simple words like "living room" come out of her mouth with a twang we didn't used to hear from the pop princess.

3. Her emotions. Most of all, Britney just seems more comfortable being a mom than being an icon.  In the interview, she was a bit uncomfortable when Lauer asked her about being perceived as a "redneck".  But when he asked her about the paparazzi, she burst into tears.

Maybe Brit would be happier as a retired performer, living back home in Louisiana and raising up her kids outside the harsh spotlight.  But some of us miss the old version, the one who wowed us with her class, style and smile.