Red Hot & Blue
With a retro look and a retro album, Christina Aguilera—seriously—has grown up. The 'Dirrty' girl comes clean.
Aguilera has been a Mouseketeer in starlet's clothing, a bubblegum pop star in S&M gear ... and so on. She's changed her look as often as other girls change handbags, and with each new image comes a new sound. This Harlow glam fits her new double CD, "Back to Basics," a set of new songs that pay tribute to vintage blues and jazz. It's a risky move for a pop star, but Aguilera's taken chances before. If any of her peers had tried to pull off the deliberately ugly makeover on the cover of her last record, "Stripped" (ratted black hair, dirty fingernails), they'd now be doing infomercials. But unlike Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, Aguilera can really sing. "She has one of the best voices out there," says Linda Perry (who's worked with Pink, Gwen Stefani), who wrote the songs with Aguilera and produced disc two. "Her competition is no longer Britney. She's on another level, one where she can compete with those great old voices from the past."http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3037855/site/newsweek/At 12, Aguilera managed to put on a happy face—and plastic ears—when she became a Mouseketeer and shared the stage with Spears, Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez. Her media training from that period seems to have stuck with her: when she's at a loss for words during interviews, she'll fall back on such phrases as "staying true to your heart" and "believing in yourself." Aguilera still has contact with her old Disney clan. "Justin's always been a friend," she says. "I know if I ever needed to call him for anything, I could. Britney and I, we've sent each other wedding gifts." So she and Spears didn't hate each other? Aguilera rolls her eyes. "We were like best friends, but the media saw a navel and blond hair and had to create some drama."