Hear Britney Spears (Really) Sing “Hold It Against Me” — Without Auto-Tune

One of several criticisms often lobbed at Ms. Britney Jean Spears is that she can’t actually sing that well. It’s common knowledge that the pop culture-happy diva is hesitant to do live vocals, though reportedly nearly half of her Femme Fatale concert is sung live (unlike Britney concerts of the past). And like many Top 40 superstars these days, it’s pretty obvious that the vocals on her album have been Auto-Tuned within an inch of their life. Or have they? A new, supposedly Auto-Tune-free clip featuring the black-clad bride singing “Hold It Against Me” has surfaced online, prompting many to speculate that the pop tart’s pipes might be stronger than we think. Hear it below.

First off, we’ll say that, overall, this track sounds nearly identical to the single version in most places — so yes, Britney’s singing is reasonably strong here.

But are these really 100% raw vocals? Have they not been processed at all? It’s hard to tell. Can she really say “haaay-zaaay” like that without the aid of electronics? Or, next, will someone be telling us there’s a live band in the studio performing that dub-step breakdown?

Presumably, this is an early studio recording of the Femme Fatale track — but who knows, really? Team Britney is notoriously hush-hush about releasing any details that actually humanize her and might point out that she has flaws just like the rest of us. But if Britney can sing as well as she does on this track, why doesn’t she sing live more often? Why Auto-Tune her so heavily?

All we’ll say definitively for now is, she probably sings better than your average Marine.

What do you think? Is it time to stop holding Britney’s vocals against her?