Entertainment behind the scenes
Britney Spears mostly pleases with new kind of circus
The critics largely enjoyed their trip to the circus with Britney Spears, as the 27-year-old troubled pop diva opened her latest Circus tour in New Orleans on Tuesday night to mostly positive reviews.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Spears, who was performing in her home state of Louisiana, nailed the first stop on her comeback.
“With so much at stake, and so much to prove, on the tour’s first night, she was fully focused on executing the complex concert. And execute she did,” Times-Picayune reviewer Keith Spera reported in a blog.
Los Angeles Times music critic Ann Powers wrote that despite singing with a backing track, relying on “nothing special” dance moves and looking less strikingly beautiful than when she first gained fame at 17, Spears “nonetheless renewed her claim as one of the world’s most adept manipulators of the public interest.”
But People magazine writer Chuck Arnold was left feeling like the Circus Tour was full of hot air. “Don’t call it a comeback quite yet,” Arnold wrote, adding that Spears appeared nervous and hardly acknowledged or talked to the audience.
Arnold also said the show reminded him of Cirque du Soleil. “When she wrapped the concert about 90 minutes after emerging, she seemed more relieved than anything that it was all over,” he wrote.
Most agree the Spears show was heavy on spectacle and technically impressive, and almost everyone noted her lip syncing. Some felt the production overwhelmed the star, while others said Spears looked great but seemed overburdened and distant. The show also was heavy on erotica, even though Spears still attracts many families with children in tow.
Spears will shuttle across the country at a dizzying pace in the coming months. She performs in Atlanta on Thursday, followed by Miami on Saturday and another show in Tampa the next night. Until the tour ends on June 14 in London, Spears will perform on many consecutive nights, as her Circus tour makes stops in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities.
Will she be able to keep up with it all, or will the newly resplendent Spears start to get frayed at the edges?
(Additional reporting by Kathy Finn)
Photo credit: Britney Spears performs for “Good Morning America” December 2008. Lucas Jackson/Reuters