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Pop queen Britney says viva Vegas
Fire-breathers, contortionists, snake charmers and hunky dancers welcomed Britney Spears in a staged event to kick off the pop star's two-year Las Vegas residency.
One street of the Strip was briefly shut down as Britney made her way to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in a convoy of black Cadillac Escalades.
Her show debuts on December 27, just in time for Sin City's massive New Year crowds. She will perform 50 shows each in 2014 and 2015, performing her top hits and more recent material. Casino bosses say her residency could be extended if it is a success.
Wearing a black cocktail dress with a rhinestone top, Britney, who was 32 on Monday, signed autographs for some of the 1,000-plus fans who came to see her arrival. She told the crowd that Las Vegas was now her town, then left after a few minutes to catch a plane to her home in Los Angeles.
Her show will take place in a relatively small theatre with nightclub touches, including table and bottle service.
The singer has released seven platinum-plus albums since she debuted on the music scene in 1999. She has more than a dozen Top 10 hits, including Toxic, Gimme More and Oops! ... I Did It Again.
Her eighth album, Britney Jean, was released this week, but reviews were tepid.
David Hoenemeyer, president of Planet Hollywood, said the star had a bigger following than any other musician playing on the Strip.
"She really cuts across all demographics. She has a remarkable following, and the ticket sales reflect that," he said. "It's a really big deal to have a star of her calibre performing for us."