Monday, November 09, 2009

Britney Spears in Australian 'lip-synching row'

When she arrived in the country last week, a Sydney newspaper ran a front-page story complaining that Spears would not be singing live during 15 two-hour concerts on her tour. The issue set online comment boards alight with indignation, and Virginia Judge, the New South Wales minister for Fair Trading, poured further fuel on the fire by saying Australians would not tolerate a "Mickey Mouse" performance by Spears. Ms Judge even suggested that concert tickets should carry disclaimers about whether parts of concerts were pre-recorded and mimed. Then came reports that scores of fans had "stormed out" of the Perth performance, angry that the star was miming. Fans reportedly said the stage show was "boring", "stiff", and "lacklustre". The furore has incensed Paul Dainty, Spears's tour promoter. "It's the biggest lie I've ever heard. I'm so angry," he told the Australian newspaper. "We can take heat if there's something wrong and people can review shows badly – that's something you have to live with – but to say people stormed out of the show was an absolute fabrication." Dainty said Spears had been traumatised by the negative coverage. "Britney is aware of all this and she's extremely upset by it. "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 incorrect 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 and shaving her head. Dainty said it was well known that part of the Spears concert was lip-synched and blasted any inference that this was hidden. "It's been all over the internet for nine months," he 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." 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". The tour continues in Melbourne on Wednesday.

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