Britney Spears in Las Vegas: Did "Piece of Me" Debut Meet Expectations?

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Britney Spears officially kicked off her wildly-hyped, two-year residency at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd.

Fears that she wouldn't fill the venue have been assuaged for now, but is the pop great's "Piece of Me" show good enough to keep selling out?

Viewed through a lens of diminished expectations (she's simply not what she once was as a performer, especially live), yes. Compared to her peers?

With its lavish costumes, elaborate sets, special effects and Britney's name - still one of the biggest in the business - it certainly as a lot going for it.

A retrospective on the 32-year-old star's nearly 15-year recording career, it had its moments, yet paled in comparison to what you might expect.

Madonna and Beyonce (and even Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, who were there to watch Britney) expose the weaknesses of her live act starkly.

For one, despite producers' claims that Spears is singing live along with backing tracks of her own voice, there was little evidence she sang a note live.

Her banter with the audience was either generic or confusing, and her hallmark - dancing - showed flashes of greatness, but even that was inconsistent.

She started the set strong with "Work Bitch," emerging from a metal cage suspended in the air to the pulsating sounds of her Britney Jean lead single.

Spears seemed energized by that, as well as the tempo of her classics "Stronger" into "(You Drive Me) Crazy," both of which got grimy makeovers.

On "Circus," she replicated the choreography from the song's video, which suited the pageantry of Vegas perfectly. It felt like the track was made for this.

Ditto "Till the World Ends," her final number, which featured her jumping up and down, prancing up the catwalk and exiting back into her flying cage.

If only it was all as positive as those select cases.

Spears seemed truly frightened to take on certain tracks, notably the sexy "I'm a Slave 4 U," remaining on her throne and executing minimal choreography.

Her performance of "Lucky," a ballad about a famous girl who seemingly has it all and yet is profoundly sad and lonely, hit a little close to home.

Many songs were heard for 30 seconds or less, blended and mixed into other songs as filler while she set up her next choreography, which was confusing.

Finally, for "Freakshow," Spears plucked a seemingly random man from the audience for some S&M punishment, but it came of lifeless and not provocative.

Not just because it was Mario Lopez, either.

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Britney Spears Biography

Britney Spears: Harper's Bazaar Style Wow. Britney Spears is ... just.... OMG. Wow. Just wow. With this girl, that's about all we can say at this point. Once the biggest... More »
Born
Birthplace
Kentwood, Louisiana
Full Name
Britney Jean Spears

Britney Spears Quotes

I miss it here so much! I love it so much! It makes me it's kinda like bittersweet coming here because I used to live here for two years. And when I come here, it's like, man, I wish I had my apartment here still.

Britney Spears [on New York City]

MTV has long played an important role in my career. How can I not be there to kick off their 25th VMAs?

Britney Spears
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