Britney Spears’ recent MTV Video Music Awards appearance has been named the greatest comeback ever.

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The troubled singer picked up three awards at the ceremony last weekend and appeared healthy and relaxed – in stark contrast to a year ago when her shambolic performance at the same event saw her criticised for being out-of-shape and disorientated.

She beat boy band Take That – who split up in 1996 but returned in 2006 with a sell-out tour and chart-topping album – into second place and Kylie Minogue, who was recognised for overcoming breast cancer, into third.

John Sewell of Onepoll, who carried out the UK survey, said: “Brits love a success story and eight months ago it looked all over for Britney.

“In February we were gripped by reports she had been admitted to a psychiatric unit and yet she managed to put in a controlled, composed and glittering appearance at the MTV awards.

“We’re now all hoping a chart-topping album will prove that Britney really is back on form.”

In the past two years, 26-year-old Britney has gone into meltdown, suffering breakdowns, being hospitalised, divorcing Kevin Federline and losing custody of her two sons, Sean Preston, almost three, and Jayden James, 23 months, while her once-glittering career has floundered.

However, in recent months she has strived to turn her life around, regaining visitation rights to her children and getting back into shape.

Top 20 Big Returns:

1. Britney Spears
2. Take That
3. Kylie Minogue
4. John Travolta
5. Robert Downey Jr
6. Robbie Williams
7. Frank Sinatra
8. Bon Jovi
9. Kate Moss
10. Spice Girls
11. Hugh Grant
12. Patsy Palmer
13. Jamie Lee Curtis
14. Jade Goody
15. Paul McCartney
16. New Kids On The Block
17. Jamie Theakston
18. Woody Allen
19. Angus Deayton
20. Michael Barrymore