A year after her notorious performance, she jokes with the host and looks "really good," a source tells PEOPLE

By Mary Margaret
Updated August 08, 2008 02:00 PM
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She’s (almost) back!

A year after her embarrassing performance at the Video Music Awards , Britney Spears returned to the MTV stage this week to tape a promotional video for this year’s ceremony.

“Britney looked really good,” says a source. “It was improvisational questions and answers with [host] Russell Brand just like [other promo guest stars] LL Cool J and Pete Wentz did. Russell joked about there being sexual tension, and Britney shot back, ‘I don’t feel the tension’. The other joke was about no one knowing who Russell was so she called him by the wrong name. LL called him Russell Bland and Britney called him Russell Brown.”

The shoot also included a 9,000 pound elephant. Says the source, “The joke of the whole thing is ‘there is an elephant in the room’.”

While the network cannot confirm whether Spears will appear on the show airing on Sept. 7, Spears’s promo appearance is a promising sign. The singer, who has been nominated 17 times, has yet to walk away with a win and is nominated for two this year. She is up for best female video and best pop video.