Then, over the weekend, her publicist said in an e-mail that after Jackson arrived in Greensboro, N.C., hoping to perform on Saturday, a local doctor advised her not to go on stage after it became "evident" she had not fully recovered. Jackson postponed Saturday's show, one on Sunday in Atlanta and a third scheduled for today in Fort Lauderdale.
Jackson's reps have not disclosed the illness she's "recuperating" from, leaving the celebrity media to speculate.
But Ian Drew, a senior editor at US Weekly, believes it may be nothing more than exhaustion. "She hasn't toured for a while," he said. "People are putting a negative spin on things. I think it's very undeserved. This last record was one of her better records ever. But it's always hard with these kind of legendary pop stars. They become trapped in their persona and it's really hard to get new fans. It's about keeping the core group. She risks abandoning them if she changes too much."
Jackson has also taken a few shots lately for her weight and personal life. Some stories have hinted that her weight is creeping up again. Jackson infamously dropped 60 pounds in 2006 and posed for US Weekly covers, flashing her famous abs again.
Drew says she still looks great. "She's come out and said when she's not touring, she is less likely to exercise as much," he said. "But we're not seeing these huge numbers."
The self-confessed yo-yo dieter is writing a book about her battle of the bulge, that is scheduled to come out by year's end.
Last month, the New York Post reported that Jackson's longtime boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, head of Island Def Jam, had too much of a good time on his 36th birthday and vomited in Jackson's lap. Jackson fled from the restaurant in her chauffeured Maybach, according to the Post.
"I highly doubt that that happened," Drew said. "The thing about Janet is she is very loyal. She tends to stick with people, her dancers, her hairdresser. She's always in a relationship. I think she and Jermaine are a great couple. They're very solid."
Jackson's career is another matter. "I think she should just do something totally different," Phoenix, the former family spokesman, said. "She should just act. You can grow old with acting."
"I would personally like to see her do something a little bit surprising, like starting her own label and doing something unpredictable," said Cohen, who thinks she's off to a good start by leaving her old label. "Would it be so crazy to bring Michael on stage each night? He needs something like that. And so does she."