Surely the shiny queen of pop wouldn't want to humiliate her fans? Oops, she did it again

First Night: Britney Spears | Wembley Arena, London
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It somehow seems inappropriate that a girl like Britney Spears should be playing in what amounts to a shed on the edge of an industrial estate in rainy north London.

It somehow seems inappropriate that a girl like Britney Spears should be playing in what amounts to a shed on the edge of an industrial estate in rainy north London.

Such a show would be more fitting in an enchanted castle with pearly turrets, gleaming balconies and white horses grazing in the fields below.

Clearly, Spears feels the same way. Her attempts to recreate her fantasy world involved a sparkling feather wrap complete with 10ft train, a backdrop of glittering gems and a stairway that only just fell short of heaven.

From her automoton-like dance routines to the clinical power-pop of her music, there is certainly something otherwordly about Spears. Maybe it's more to do with the glazed look in her eyes, blandly focused on the job in hand.

When she's not playing the fairy tale princess, Spears relishes her role as a sex-kitten.

For a girl who professes to want to remain a virgin until she meets the right man, her songs would suggest that she has crammed in enough sexual experience to rival the average 35-year-old. As she says in Oops! I Did It Again, "I'm not that innocent".

But let's face it, our fascination with Britney has little to do with music.

A generous cleavage, a tanned, taut midriff and shiny white teeth may be requisite where teen idols are concerned, but Britney's are just greater, tauter, and shinier than everyone else's.

Her attempts to deny this Lolita-esque appeal simply compound the mischief in her male admirers.

To her female fans, though, she symbolises something entirely different. She has that girl-next-door charm, that Southern honeyness that makes pre-pubescent girls want to be her best friend.

That Spears is the embodiment of their dreams was plain to see last night in the morass of glossy Britney look-a-likes all in varying states of undress.

Spears is also adept at building to her own myth, most notably when four members of the audience were brought on stage to vie to meet their idol.

Each has to complete a task - the first had to bark like a dog and the second had to lay on the floor and twitch like a fish out of water.

But it was George from Essex who stole the show with his superlative impersonation of a chicken. The idea that this might be deemed humiliating obviously hadn't occurred to the teen queen as she kindly shook his hand and posed for a photo. When it comes to singing, Spears appears to come from the Mariah Carey school - why use one note when you can use 64?

She may not sound all that extraordinary but her energy as a performer is virtually unrivalled.

There are of course the cloying pronouncements of gratitude, the mushy ballads, the endless costume changes.

But then there is the irrefutable pop genius of "Oops! I Did It Again?" and "(Hit Me) Baby One More Time".

OK, so it may not be her genius but she's the perfect conduit for the song-writing talent. This is pop at its shiny best.

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