Pop superstar Britney Spears is so confident she'll return to the top of the charts, she's 'inspired' by the runaway success of rivals like CHRISTINA AGUILERA.

The ME AGAINST THE MUSIC singer took a year off from the pop scene, and watched from the sidelines as Aguilera hit the big time with hits like DIRRTY and BEAUTIFUL. Punk pop babe Avril Lavigne and superstar Beyonce Knowles also shot up the charts, making Britney's 'princess of pop' tag less than secure.

Now Britney's releasing her comeback album IN THE ZONE, but she isn't worried her opponents have eclipsed her.

She says, "You know what? Honestly, it's inspiring. I mean, like, in that time off, I would sit there and I wanted to watch Christina, JUSTIN (TIMBERLAKE), Shakira, Gwen Stefani...

"I wanted to see them dance! I mean, they're all my frickin' peers, man - we're all here to inspire people and lift people up. It was very inspiring.

"When I was out, they were chilling, you know what I mean? Everybody goes through their cycles of coming out and doing their thing, you know. You can't always be at the top so when you do, it's like...yeah!"

29/10/2003 17:08