Will.i.am and Britney Spears officially have something to "Scream & Shout" about. For the past five years, the two stars have been embroiled in a legal battle over royalties for their hit 2013 song, and it all came to a head this week. As it turns out, Will.i.am wasn't the only writer of the popular track, and despite it being Spears's first number one hit in the UK in eight years when it topped the charts in 2013, she wasn't the original person tapped to sing it.
The first singer approached to sing on "Scream & Shout" was Tulisa Contostavlos, once a member of the group N-Dubz, who had 12 hit songs in the UK before splitting in 2011. She went on to be a judge on the UK version of The X Factor, where she was most famous for mentoring superstar girl group Little Mix.
Contostavlos went on to collaborate with Will.i.am during the writing process for "Scream & Shout," but she was never given a co-writing credit. Not only that, but she was the original choice for the vocals on the track long before Spears got the gig. Apparently the initial recording of the song with Contostavlos's vocals was done as a demo for her debut album The Female Boss, but her label decided not to include it in the final cut.
What's even more damning for Will.i.am and Spears is that a musicologist (yes, that's a real thing) has determined that Contostavlos's vocals are even mixed into the final version of "Scream & Shout," which seems to explain why Spears sings her lines in an English accent at one point. After successfully fighting the duo in a long legal battle, Contostavlos has now been awarded a co-writing credit, as well as 10 percent of everything the chart-topping song has made in its lifetime.