Britney Spears is in the house, and she’s rocking it! Yes, Britney Spears cranked off her ‘Britney: Piece of Me’ residency on Friday night at Planet Hollywood.
It was a 90 minute night with 23 songs, four hairstyle changes, and seven outfits packed in for good measure. Sounds like a busy night but Britney pulled it off without a hitch. Gone was the polite American Idol version of Britney. That version was left in the desert on the way to Vegas, somewhere near Barstow. Instead we saw a new Vegas version. Maybe it’s the high wattage lights on the strip, maybe she’s just marking her territory, whichever it was, she was amped.
She made her entrance via a large sphere that was lowered from the ceiling, then she launched into Work B**ch. She took flight again numerous times as though applying for a job with the Circque du Soleil. Before no time she had the crowd of 4,500 on their feet and that’s where they stayed for the 90 minute show.
As the show moved on her dancers received a workout and the choreography had them running in spinning wheels and vaulting over Britney. With a flaming ring of fire, confetti, aerial antics, and a band on hand there was lots to keep the audience visually stimulated.
It was obvious Britney Spears was in the house and it was a big night for her fans, but it was a huge night for Planet Hollywood. Signing Britney to a two year deal worth $15 million is not an insignificant amount of money, even in Vegas. Britney will receive $300,000 per show for 50 shows over the next two years. Considering the venue only holds 4,500 seats there’s not much money in it for Planet Hollywood, one would think. The seat count is one thing, paying for perks is quite another. There’s a $500 VIP package which has sold out, and if you want to get a bit more personal there’s the Britney meet-and-greet which goes for $2,500. It’s all aimed at the 20 to 40-year-old crowd.
As impressive as the numbers are for Britney, she doesn’t even make it into the top five on the Strip. Those numbers are reserved for the older more established singers like Celine Dion and Sir Elton John. The move by Planet Hollywood though does show that Vegas is evolving. When Dion signed to perform at Caesars in 2002 she put the music world in Vegas on notice that things were about to change, and they did. Pay for resident performers skyrocketed and the old lounge crowd image was banished from the larger casinos.
Dion raised the bar and as she did other established acts began to follow. A decade later Britney is at Planet Hollywood, where Dion has done her work, and will continue to do so until 2019 for $476,000 a night. Britney will start hers, and fill the slot for a younger crowd at a slight discount. Then again, $300,000 a night isn’t too shabby.
Yes, Britney Spears is in the house. Power to the Planet.
By Scott Wilson