Britney Spears fleeces fans with 12-minute ‘performance’

[7 May 2007]

By Ben Wener

The Orange County Register (MCT)

Sometime after her baby-endangering driving incident but before that video that showed her seemingly stoned out of her gourd or her infamous crotch-flashing night out with Paris Hilton, I came to the conclusion that, rehabilitated or not, Britney Spears is the lamest person on planet Earth.

I have no scientific evidence to support this claim. It just seems obvious.

But after La Britney’s 12-minute performance Wednesday night (billed under the trademark-infringing pseudonym the M+M’s) at a thoroughly stuffed House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif., I’m not sure who’s lamer - the trailer-trash diva or her gullible fans, who paid through the nose to see one of Spears’s first sets in three years.

Just so you don’t think that’s a typo, I’ll reiterate: In her second of four not-so-secret “comeback” stops at Houses of Blues in the Southwest, Spears pranced about for a mere 4 ¼ songs in 12 minutes.

On at 9:33, off at 9:45. Brit coquettishly waved goodbye, flashed her toothy grin in mock shock at the insanely, incessantly deafening reaction to her appearance, then said only “thank you” to her fleeced fans and split.

I suspect that was the only time her headset microphone was turned on. It certainly wasn’t live when she and her four clone dancers robotically stepped through choreography so rote, so lifeless, so 1997 it made most drill team routines seem as complicated as a Bolshoi ballet. Most of the time, Spears didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was faking it, smacking her gum like a cow chewing its cud instead of mouthing words.

Yes, though having shaved her head in February, Britney here had hair - a long dark brown wig that grew rattier the more she shook it. And, yes, fresh out of rehab she does look fairly hot again, toned up enough that she can wear nothing but skimpy bottoms and a pink bra without worrying about flabby ripples. Seeing as her posterior steadily inched out of her black panties beneath first a white microskirt, then a denim microskirt, I can attest that she must do butt crunches regularly.

But let’s get back to this 12-minute business.

At $52 a ticket, after tax and service charges, that works out to roughly $4.33 for every 60 seconds of Spears’ presence. A verse and a chorus of a sultrier “... Baby One More Time,” which is how she opened this “performance”? Cha-ching! That’ll be $9, thank you very much.

Her not-so-“Toxic” finale? That cost as much as her greatest-hits CD at suggested retail price. And “Do Somethin’,” her longest and perhaps unintentionally autobiographical number (“I see you lookin’ at me like I’m some kind of freak!”) - that one set ya back at least an Andrew Jackson, maybe more.

And yet a thousand faithful fanatics, who didn’t mind waiting in line or checking their cell phones at the door (no photographic devices of ANY kind were allowed inside), still screamed their bloody heads off for this talentless, past-her-prime pinup, chanting “Britney! Britney! Britney!” minutes before she appeared.

“She sounded solid,” I heard one woman say to her friend while hiking back to the furthest parking structure (the main lot was littered with local television news vans). “I just wish she hadn’t lip-synched.”

I ignored the incongruity and asked both of them: “Was it worth 50 bucks?”

“Oh yeah!” one said. “It was worth it just to make our friends jealous.”

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