Entertainment correspondent, BBC News
A year ago industry watchers were confidently predicting the demise of Britney Spears as a pop princess.
The 26-year-old was roundly criticised after her shambolic appearance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.
The star shuffled her way through a poor rendition of Gimme More and made no attempt to hide the fact she was miming.
At the time, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton said the performance had been "painful" and "embarrassing".
Kelefa Sanneh from The New York Times said: "She tottered around the stage, dancing tentatively and doing nothing that sounded or looked like real live singing."
A year later, Spears' returned to the same awards show.
Following what has generally agreed to have been a faultless performance, many industry experts are forecasting the singer is finally back.
Beauty pageant smile
To be fair, the bar was not set too high as Spears did not actually perform any songs.
Instead, she donned a beauty pageant smile and seemed to concentrate on following a carefully rehearsed short script that saw her introducing the show.
Accepting three awards later in the evening, she thanked God and her fans.
Still, the fact that she turned up, looked good and made sense won the audience over.
The assembled celebrities gave her a standing ovation and the reaction from the press has been largely positive.
And although the contrived nature of Spears' attempted rehabilitation has not escaped many, they also acknowledge that it will probably have the desired effect.
The LA Times hailed Spears' return as a "triumph of the Olympian kind".
While The Washington Post headline read: "Spears is MTV's Comeback Kid."
According to Peter Robinson, the editor of music website Popjustice , she has achieved this by keeping a low profile after months of negative stories.
"She's a terrible actress, but very pretty. So it's back to the Britney everyone knows," he said.
"The greatest part of her career was when everyone knew her songs, and no-one knew what she did when she went home at night.
"Now, when you think about the last few months in the world of Britney it's all been a bit quiet. So now we're back to the Britney everyone fell in love with."
He added: "It's good news for MTV, they need people like Britney. There have been some new MTV style pop princesses, but Britney and Christina are still part of their power league of artists."
Spears is currently working on material for a new album.
If her recovery continues on course, this year's MTV Video Music Awards could well be seen as the most significant turning point of her career.