Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2018

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Britney Spears celebrates 32nd birthday ahead of arrival in Las Vegas


Britney Spears.

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Britney Spears' Femme Fatale Tour at MGM Grand Garden Arena

Britney Spears' Femme Fatale Tour stop at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 25, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Happy Birthday, Britney Spears, and welcome to Las Vegas; your stage awaits! For the next two years with your new residency at Planet Hollywood, you become a local.

When the pop princess officially arrives on Tuesday, expect explosive excitement with one of the wildest, largest and most dramatic entertainment promotions ever staged on the Strip.

Fans, photographers and TV cameras will start assembling from 3 p.m. onward to jockey for the best views of Britney as she arrives at 4:30 p.m. The stunt ties into Tuesday’s release of her new album, “Britney Jean,” and her appearance to celebrate her 32nd birthday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Her journey to Planet Hollywood was first reported here at Vegas DeLuxe on Jan. 10 when she announced that she was ending her role as a judge on Simon Cowell’s “X Factor.” Now after a summer- and fall-long schedule of workouts, vocal coaching, stamina choreography and show run-throughs, she’ll start final technical rehearsals onstage at Planet Hollywood on Dec. 10 to premiere her 96-show contract on Dec. 27.

I also reported exclusively on Nov. 13 that she blocked the show for the first time from start to finish along with her comments about her residency.

Britney’s journey, of course, goes back to “The Mickey Mouse Club” revival in the 1990s with Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera, which led to her “Baby One More Time” launch in pigtails, knee-high socks, a short skirt and a bare-midriff beneath a school blouse. The romance between Britney and Justin was evident when they wore matching outfits at a Las Vegas celebrity charity basketball game.

She’s made headlines ever since. Remember the MTV Video Music Awards when she ripped off her conservative black suit to display a flesh-colored, see-through, sequined body leotard for her killer dance routine? For “Stronger,” she showed off her dance skills on a high-speed, nearly gravity-defying steel chair.

If it wasn’t the python that slithered on “I’m a Slave 4 U,” it was the sizzling kiss with Madonna that kept her at No. 1, turning up with Beyonce and Pink in this Pepsi commercial.

Britney, one of the youngest music stars to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was back in Las Vegas at the Palms for a Little White Wedding Chapel marriage ceremony to schoolmate Jason Alexander that lasted only 55 hours. Then-Palms owner George Maloof helped arrange the attorney to untangle the vows, explaining that it was a joke that went farther than planned. In 2008, she walked away with three MTV VMAs and revolutionized the world’s interest in sexy airline travel with “Toxic.”

Her two tours both made return stops in Las Vegas and with two young sons in tow from her on-off Las Vegas relationship with Kevin Federline, she settled down on “X Factor.” It was then the discussions began with Caesars Entertainment, and by the time of our January and February stories, the deal for a Las Vegas residency was on.

On Tuesday afternoon, the fever pitch begins on the front steps of Planet Hollywood. It will be an outrageous and over-the-top mobile-stage spectacular moving along the Strip. A “Tree of Life” should spawn acrobats and sexy dancers, with Britney finally appearing through a wall of fire tunnel — if the Fire Department permits the pyrotechnics. I’m reliably told that it will be one of the most ambitious welcomes ever to staged on the Strip.

Britney said: “I’m ready. This will be something totally different, and Las Vegas is the perfect place to bring it to the next level.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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