Britney Spears has done it again, hitting the headlines during her first Australian tour over a row about lip-synching and a lacklustre performance that her tour promoter said had left her "extremely upset".
Australian media reported that fans walked out of the first of Spears' 14 Australian performances that was staged in Perth on Friday after just a few songs, describing it as "boring", "stiff", mimed and lacking interaction with the audience.
But the promoter of Spears' Australian "Circus" tour, her manager and some fans rushed to her defence, saying this savaging has left the US pop singer traumatised.
"Britney is aware of all this and she's extremely upset by it," Paul Dainty, Spears' tour promoter, told The Australian newspaper today.
"She's a human being. I'm embarrassed, with such a big international entourage here with Britney, to be part of the Australian media when I see that kind of totally inaccurate reporting."
Dainty said it was a total fabrication to suggest that fans had stormed out of the show as early as the third song after paying between $200 to $1,500 to see the 27-year-old singer who has rebuilt her career after a high-profile meltdown.
Before her world tour started in March to promote her sixth studio album, Spears had only done a handful of live concerts in recent years as her personal life ran out of control.
This included stints in psychiatric care, an ugly divorce, losing custody of her two sons, shaving her head and partying without underwear.
Spears has been at the centre of debate over lip-synching since she arrived in Australia last week, even though it's no secret that she mimes as she dances in her circus-themed show.
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The Fair Trade Minister for the state of New South Wales, Virginia Judge, ignited the debate by saying Australians would not tolerate a "Mickey Mouse" performance by Spears, who rose to fame as a member of Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club" TV series.
Judge suggested concert tickets should carry disclaimers about whether parts of concerts were pre-recorded and mimed.
Dainty said it was well known that part of Spears concert was lip-synched and blasted any inference that this was hidden.
"It's been all over the internet for nine months," Dainty said. "This show is about an incredible spectacle, which it is."
Spears' manager Adam Leber took to Spears' Twitter account to defend the singer to her 3.7 million followers.
"Its unfortunate that one journalist in Perth didn't enjoy the show last night. Fortunately the other 18,272 fans in attendance did. - Adam" he wrote.
The management from the Burswood Dome in Perth, where Spears' show was staged, told local reporters that they had not received any complaints from the 17,000 people who were at the show. A similar number attended Spears' show the next night as well.
Thousands of fans flooded Spears' personal website and Twitter to congratulate her on her comeback, describing her Perth performances as "amazing", "awesome" and "brilliant".
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