LAS VEGAS -- The show is called “Piece of Me,” and that’s exactly what it delivers -- no more, no less.
Clad in a version of the bedazzled bodysuit she wore a decade ago in the video for her song “Toxic,” Britney Spears launched her much-discussed two-year residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino by emerging from a giant metal globe suspended over the stage of the Axis Theater. “Work Bitch,” the lead single from her latest album, thumped through the venue’s booming sound system as an army of masked dancers marched around her. Smoke swirled, fans hoisted miniature bottles of Moët & Chandon.
For a few tantalizing moments Friday night, Spears -- the one-time teen-pop queen who’s spent much of the last few years inching back from the brink -- seemed ready to reclaim her once-vivid form. Then the bubble burst.
Scheduled to run through 2015, with Spears playing approximately 50 shows a year at the 4,600-seat Axis, “Piece of Me” represents a potential pivot point for the singer and the state of entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.
For Spears, 32, the steady gig promises a path out of the turmoil and disappointment that have surrounded her since 2007, when she attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella after shaving her head at a Tarzana salon.
Though Spears’ personal life appears to have stabilized, her career is still hurting: This month her album “Britney Jean” opened with the lowest sales of the singer’s 15-year career; it sits at No. 27 on the Billboard 200, well behind records by Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, both of whom showed up Friday night as a sign of respect to a trailblazer.
Filling the Axis, the thinking seems to go, might restore some of Spears’ luster without her having to engage in direct competition with her younger successors.
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