Britney Spears' Femme Fatale Tour: What Critics Say

Britney Spears - Billboard Music Awards - Show - 2011
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The singer, who performed in Los Angeles Monday, is called "entertaining" and "a mess pretty much from start to finish."

Britney Spears kicked off her Femme Fatale tour this week. She played her 90-minute set in Los Angeles' Staples Center Monday night. Here's what the critics are saying about the pop singer's latest world tour.

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"Even with bells, whistles, fireworks and scores of dancers, a pop star's evolution is not always a pretty picture," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Shirley Halperin, who notes the Britney Spears of 2011 is "one who’s seated for nearly half of her 90-minute set, who doesn’t quite have that spring in her dance step anymore and who requires a constant barrage of visual distractions while she mostly lip-synchs along to her hits."

Still, Spears' show is "entertaining," Haperin makes sure to note. "With theatrics that bring to life a sexy assassin subplot, elaborate stage sets (cages, a pink motorcycle, a giant dragon boat) and a slew of dancers who effortlessly camouflage Spears’ less energetic numbers (and Spears had her share on Monday at L.A.’s Staples Center, though not quite on the level of her GMA performance from March), Femme Fatale features bells and whistles out the yin-yang in a sort of sugary rush that’s not unlike going to Disneyland -- which is, of course, highly appropriate considering Spears got her first taste of fame on the Mickey Mouse Club."

The San Jose Mercury News' Jim Harrington called Spears' Saturday night show there a "shockingly poor outing from one of pop music's biggest stars."

"The current Femme Fatale Tour, in support of the chart-topping record of the same name, is a mess pretty much from start to finish. The theatrics are awkward and confusing, the dance routines are numbingly bland and old-hat, the song selection is weak and misguided, and Britney's star power, so blinding on tours past, is remarkably dim," he writes.

"What makes this turn of events so depressing is that Femme Fatale directly follows 2009's The Circus Starring Britney Spears, a comeback tour that -- while not without minor problems -- served notice that the long-troubled star was still capable of being a first-rate entertainer," he continues.

Rolling Stone magazine, however, said of Spears' show in Sacremento last Thursday, "The night belonged to Britney: She managed to prove that she's still progressing as a showgirl... Not only that, she's doing it better than even die hard defenders would've predicted. At 29, the pop star whose career seemed in danger of ending just a couple years ago has shown that she's back - hopefully this time to stay."

MTV News' Kelley L. Carter says that Spears "stuck to script" at her Staples Center show.

"The Spears that captivated the audience at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Monday night was the old, fun-loving, free-wheeling Spears — with a sexy, showgirl twist. There wasn't much pretense, though those glamazon outfits blinded in the best way possible. Instead, there was just good dance music," she wrote.

"There were times throughout the night when it was obvious that Spears was lip-synching, but no one in the audience seemed to mind one bit. They were there to be served a shot of Spears straight-up. And they got what they came for," she wrote.