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Britney Spears - It's my party and I'll cry off if I want to

Her flying visit was billed as 'Britney Party'. But she shocked the fans who had flocked to see her by refusing to perform

Saturday was supposed to be the night that Britney Spears proved to London clubbers that she had put her recent bizarre behaviour behind her by performing to her core fans at the iconic club night G-A-Y. Instead, hundreds were disappointed as the troubled pop star arrived at the venue but then refused to go on stage.

The 26-year-old singer had reportedly agreed to perform at the event, which was promoted as a "Britney Party". Although there was no official announcement, news spread of her performance and, as a result, hundreds packed the venue in an attempt to see their idol join the likes of Kylie Minogue and Madonna in appearing at G-A-Y. However, many were left frustrated and bemused as it was announced that she was at the club but wouldn't be coming on the stage to perform.

Hannah Wharrier, 24, and her friend Emily Leaper, 24, were two fans that had come specifically to see Britney. Ms Wharrier said: "She could have just come on and waved, and everyone would have been happy." Adam Colborne, 19, another fan, said: "I think she's really out of order. I think she's had a lot of bad publicity, but the fact that she didn't come out isn't helping her. I think she has let down her fans, but lots of them will still be her fans."

Inside, the main room was packed to capacity as clubbers waited for the American superstar. At one point, it seemed as if the stage was being readied for Britney's appearance, as dancers were cleared from the area. However, after 45 minutes of waiting, an announcement was made that Britney would not be appearing and instead would be saying hello to groups in a small room next-door, which was met by boos from the crowd.

Some visitors to the G-A-Y website yesterday blamed the organisation of the night, which moved to the Heaven nightclub last year from the Astoria, with some claiming Britney refused to play because of safety concerns about the number of people in the main room.

"That was the worst experience of my life," said a user named davidcox. "I can't believe [they] let that happen. The management should be fired.They stood around with a look of panic on their faces. It was so dangerous. What a joke." Another visitor, Rob Cooper, said: "If anyone let the night down it was the customers who tried pushing their way through."

The G-A-Y promoters were not available yesterday for comment.

Britney was in London ahead of today's release of her new album, Circus. Earlier in the evening she had performed her latest single, "Womanizer", on The X-Factor, her first appearance on British TV in four years. She received a standing ovation despite accusations that she mimed.

In an interview which will be shown on Sky One tonight, Britney talked about her problems, that have seen her sectioned and access to her children restricted. She said: "I miss going out and doing stuff, or seeing a guy and hanging out, the way I used to live. I was a pretty cool chick. I'm not that way any more. Sometimes it can get lonely.."

Jeremy Joseph, co-owner of Heaven and owner of G-A-Y, said Britney was not "expected" to perform and that a performance by her was never advertised by the club. He added that the venue was not overcrowded and remained at legal capacity levels.