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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 09:50 GMT
Britney beats Kylie to number one
Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue
Britney has regained the upper hand over Kylie in the singles chart
Britney Spears has defied critics to gain her first UK number one single in nearly four years, beating Kylie Minogue in the process.

Britney's Toxic went straight to the top of the chart, as did her May 2000 hit Oops!.. I Did It Again.

Kylie's Red Blooded Woman entered at number five while George Michael's comeback single Amazing went into the chart in fourth place.

Call Off the Search by Katie Melua remained on top of the album chart.

DJ Casper's sing-along hit Cha Cha Slide was the second highest new entry, going straight into the singles chart at number two.

Toxic is one of my favourite songs - but it's been a while since something has gone to number one in the UK
Britney Spears
Britney Spears' chart-topping single is taken from In The Zone, her fourth album which coincided with a drop in the pop star's fortunes.

She told the BBC Radio 1 Chart Show that her victory was "awesome" when told the news on Sunday.

"This is a shock to me," she said. "Toxic is one of my favourite songs - but it's been a while since something has gone to number one in the UK.

"I'm so excited. I don't know what to say. This is awesome. This is great, great news. I'm a very happy bunny," she said.

Before its release last November, Britney courted controversy by sharing an MTV Video Awards kiss with Madonna.

Britney and Madonna's duet Me Against the Music attracted less interest, however, and failed to match the chart-topping success of Kylie's previous single Slow.

In The Zone was Britney's first new album in two years but a European trip to promote it was cut short, with "ill health" given as the reason.

Britney Spears
MTV felt Britney's Toxic video was unsuitable for daytime viewing
The album subsequently received a mixed critical reaction and Britney's bid to regain her Forbes list status as the world's most powerful celebrity seemed doomed.

Britney's 55-hour marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander threatened to overshadow the 22-year-old's pop career in January.

But transatlantic hit Toxic, penned by Can't Get You Out Of My Head co-writer Cathy Dennis, has revived her popularity.

It was accompanied by a video steamy enough to be restricted to MTV's late-night schedule, renewing interest in the risque pop star.

Last week Kylie, 35, made a timely criticism of raunchy music videos.

"I'm no prude," she said, "but I'm not going to those lengths."

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