Janet Jackson metallic corset leotard knee high metallic boots

Janet Jackson looking a little, um, familiar. Photo: Sean Gardner, Getty Images

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

That might have been the motto Janet Jackson had in mind when choosing her attire for the Essence Music Festival.

Wearing her hair in a newly cropped style, the 44-year-old "Nasty" girl channeled 20-something chart toppers Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga in a metallic gold futuristic corset, a skimpy sparkly leotard with fishnets, and gold knee pads just above her matching boots.

The steamy two-hour set, which included all of Jackson's greatest hits as well as an S&M routine, marked the singer's first live show in more than two years, reports the Daily Mail.

Though Jackson appears to be competing with the new generation of pop stars, she told U.K. magazine Wonderland that she doesn't consider them a threat. In fact Jackson admits that she's a fan of Gaga, though she isn't so sure about her style,

"Do I think it's over the top at all? I enjoy it because it's something kind of different. It's something new to look at," she says. "It's going to be hard [for her] to keep up with that, but who knows?"

Jackson also adds that she was rocking bandages long before Rihanna ever did.

"Have I done that before? Yes," Jackson tells the magazine. "I'm not saying she's copying me. Everything is cyclical. They come back around at some point."

As for keeping up with the Joneses -- and the Beyoncés, the Rihannas, and the Gagas -- Miss Jackson explains to Wonderland, "I don't look at it like that. It's really about being who you are and doing what you want to do. I think when you try to keep up with something, it's not a good thing. You have to express yourself and be the true you."

Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna all rockin' space-age stage wear. Photos: Bryan Bedder, Getty Images | Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic | PI / INFphoto.com

Wait a sec -- didn't Madonna say that first?

In related news, check out the over-the-top ensemble Rihanna wore at her Vancouver concert.