It's tough enough these days scrounging pennies for a pack of Bubblicious, let alone ponying up for a concert ticket. Just for fun, let's say you found $100 on the sidewalk. Which pop spectacle would you rather spend it on: Britney Spears or the double bill of Billy Joel and Elton John? ? You get extra bang for your buck with the Piano Men, who play the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa tonight. But Brit-Brit, who rocks the same venue Sunday, is the most buzzed-about celeb of the 21st century. She's a singer (sort of), dancer (dirty shimmy), mother (usually) and survivor (K-Fed). Plus the 27-year-old is mad sexy, bald or not. ? To help you decide, St. Petersburg Times pop-culture analysts Sean Daly and Stephanie Hayes have some observations. Because he's an old, crusty classicist, Sean opts for a night with Joel, 59, and John, 61. Because she's young, vibrant and pharmaceutically blond, Stephanie swears by Spears. ? Let's break it down:
Billy/Elton (Sean): Joel hasn't recorded anything new in decades, and I'd still take his recent output over Circus girl's. Heck, Brit could switch brains with Brian bleepin' Wilson and not muster the flip side of Your Song.
Britney (Stephanie): But whose tunes are better for grooving? Try backing that thang up to Crocodile Rock. Try dropping it like it's hot to Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. Try pop-locking to Shameless. Now, If You Seek Amy? That's another story. Get down!
Billy/Elton: You're not going to this show for the eye candy. And if you are, we still have plenty of Sean Daly wall calendars for sale.
Britney: Let's review her past personas. Schoolgirl, snake handler, frisky flight attendant, reckless driver, Cheetos connoisseur. What's sexier than speeding tickets and dusty orange acrylic nails?
Billy/Elton: I don't know about you, but I enjoy lime-green capris on a tubby sexagenarian British dude. Get back, chunky cat!
Britney: Don't you want to see which variety of fishnet stockings and bullwhip Britney will use to slay an unruly backup dancer? I thought I knew you.
Billy/Elton: We're going to concede this category to Ms. Spears. Unlike Elton John, who wears a synthetic wombat on his head, Brit wasn't afraid to be bald, beautiful, Sex Luthor.
Britney: Plus, her legendary hair extensions are ample enough to lasso a rampaging pack of buffalo. Buckaroo Britney!
Billy/Elton: I'm thinking Cocoon, after Wilford Brimley swam with that pod thingie and got super horny.
Britney: No, you're right. Go hang at the assisted living facility. I'm sure you'll have fun. Excuse me, that's my phone. It's my friends Misti and Bridget calling on break from Hooters wondering which tank top to wear to the Britney show.
Billy/Elton: Oooh, dirty pool. Love it. Billy and Elton — brilliant singers, brilliant musicians — wouldn't be caught dead pulling a Memorex. Et tu, Toxic?
Britney: Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Well . . . well . . . I got nothing.
CHANCE OF A NO-SHOW:
Billy/Elton: We're 99 percent certain this one will go down. But Billy did once bail on a Tampa date for a rehab stint. Still, if there's going to be a no-show . . .
Britney: In her latest interview, she looked serene and calm, as if she just shotgunned eight Sleepytime teas. Mellow Brit will fulfill her tour dates.
CHANCE OF NUDITY:
Billy/Elton: Nudity?! Who came up with this topic? I can't compete with that. Britney's gonna be naked? Are there good seats left?
Britney: Sorry. Misti, Bridget and I already got them.
Sean Daly can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic. Stephanie Hayes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8857.