Britney Spears gambles on two years in Las Vegas

Agence France-Presse

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Britney Spears opens a two-year sojourn in Sin City with a dazzling performance to a crowd of adoring fans at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino

BRITNEY IN VEGAS. Britney Spears holds a bouquet of flowers at a welcome ceremony as she celebrates the release of her new album

LAS VEGAS, USA – Britney Spears, in the heels of such performers as Celine Dion and Elton John, late Friday, December 27, opened a two-year sojourn in Sin City with a dazzling performance to a crowd of adoring fans.

The former enfant terrible of US pop wowed some 4,600 fans with a stunning show at the Axis Theater at the city’s Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

The Grammy-winning pop songstress was hired to perform her new spectacle, titled “Piece of Me,” 50 times a year in 2014 and 2015.

“Wow… perfect audience for the 1st #PieceOfMe show! That was AMAZING! I <3 you Vegas!!!” the 32 year-old Spears wrote on Twitter.

In the 90-minute extravaganza, Spears lipsynced more than 20 songs, including many of the hits she had over her 15-year career from former Disney starlet in the late 1990s to pop diva of the 2000s.

Against a backdrop of stunning video projections, Spears performed such hits as “Toxic,” “Womanizer,” “Baby One More Time,” “Scream and Shout,” and “Till the World Ends.”

Spears, who has sold some 100 million albums so far in her career, had help from a troupe of dancers that writhed, wiggled and did back flips at a steady pace throughout the show.

After being delivered on stage inside a metal sphere, Spears showed up in a large winged angel costume to sing “Everything,” while she sang “Toxic” perched on a giant stage tree.

For “Freakshow” she dressed as a dominatrix for a sadomasochistic skit that has become de rigueur for female singers in the post-Madonna era.

“It’s a lot better than expected. I love her, I’m a big fan,” said spectator Alfredo Carrillo after the show. “She was on stage more than expected, not too many outfit changes, a lot of songs, a lot of energy.”

Some of the singer’s fans came from far and wide to see the star perform.

“I am a fan from the very beginning. I came from Bologna, Italy, just to see her the first night,” said a woman named Chiara. “This is the best of all her shows.”

However John Cannavale, a resident of Chicago, said he was “disappointed by the lipsync” throughout the performance.

Several big-name stars on hand for the premier on the famed Las Vegas strip included Katy Perry and pop’s current enfant terrible, Miley Cyrus.

Spears thanked them both, especially writing to Perry on Twitter: “Was SOOOO good to see you again girl! Glad we could make our Vegas date happen :)”

During her time in Vegas, Spears is banned from performing anywhere else in North America.

Tabloid fodder

Spears was on the front pages of celebrity magazines – and eventually scandal supermarket tabloids – during much of her career.

She rattled viewers when she gave singer Madonna a kiss on the mouth onstage at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards.

She wedded childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas in 2004, a marriage that lasted all of 55 hours before it was annulled.

She then married Kevin Federline, one of her backup dancers – this while Federline’s ex-girlfriend was pregnant with the couple’s second child.

Spears and Federline had two children, and they divorced in 2007.

Reports of drug use in front of the children, and a move by her parents to take control of her affairs, was all over the scandal sheets.

Spears had a public breakdown in 2006 and shaved her head. Two years later she was briefly committed to a psychiatric ward.

All of those scandals may be in the past, but her future as the Princess of Pop is in doubt, as her latest album, “Britney Jean,” received only lukewarm reviews.

Spears now joins a panoply of music stars who have taken time out for temporary residence in Las Vegas, including Elton John, Shania Twain, Rod Stewart and Celine Dion.

French-Canadian songstress Dion even sent Spears a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her premiere in the world gambling capital.

Following Christmas and with just days ahead of New Year celebrations, Las Vegas is bursting with tourists.

According to the celebrity website, the 73,600 seats for the first 16 Britney Spears concerts – the only ones currently for sale – are nearly all sold out.

Spears will rake in around $15 million (10 million euros) for each year in Las Vegas, according to TMZ. –

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