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The reviews are in on Britney Spears


The reviews are in on Britney Spears’ Las Vegas residency launch and there’s no dancing around it: Those “flashes of greatness,” as Rolling Stone put it, came with questions.

In one of her numbers, she appeared as a towering angel, but some critics hinted she’s not that innocent.

Safe to say some doubters spent more time watching Spears’ lips than the sizzling show called “Pieces of Me” at Planet Hollywood Resort.

“While the show’s producers claim Spears is singing along with backing tracks of her own voice, there was little evidence Britney sang a live note,” wrote Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone.

The Los Angeles Times put it this way: “She was wearing a microphone, though it wasn’t clear she was using it.”

USA Today’s Marco della Cava addressed the “the oft-raised specter of lip-synching” by suggesting maybe everyone should cut Spears some slack.

“It’s truly impossible to gauge whether there was any funny business with the vocals,” he wrote.

“What’s more though,” he added, “with a performance this heavily focused on athleticism, asking a singer to deliver pitch-perfect vocals with no digital assistance is a bit like asking an NFL running back to run for 10 yards while carrying a tune — all game long. This wasn’t Ella Fitzgerald with a pianist folks, it was a pop star bringing to life the songs we crank up in the shower or at the gym.

“It was all about the wonderfully raunchy sizzle of it all, not a virgin vocal,” he wrote.

The highest and unrelenting praise continues to come from celebrity reporter Robin Leach, who tweeted “Forget the picky critics.” The show is “a total winner,” adding “Audience unanimous it’s a monster hit.”

Back in September, he wrote: “Let’s set the record straight on some of the rumors. … She will definitely be singing & dancing — no lip syncing.”

The former Fleet Street reporter-turned-pitchman also dismissed a report in London’s Daily Mail that Spears, who appears to be in the greatest shape of her career, may have had her abs painted to give the appearance she has six packs.

SOME NFR NUMBERS

The Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, with their recent 6-3 vote in favor of moving the National Finals Rodeo to Florida in 2015, suggested it was all about the numbers.

Bigger arena, more prize money and a financial package worth about $4 million more than what Las Vegas is offering.

Here are some numbers that didn’t come up: Out of the total of 119 NFR contestants, six reside east of the Mississippi. Florida, the potential future home, qualified one contestant for the NFR (barrel racer Kaley Bass is from Osceola County, which is courting the NFR).

We know what cowboys want: more prize money.Wonder if they asked the fans who, for 28 years, have faithfully packed the Thomas & Mack Center, what host site they would prefer?

SIGHTINGS

At Spears’ opening night show: Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Adam Lambert. … “Into the Wild” actor Emile Hirsch, dining at Hakkasan (MGM Grand) on Friday night. “Glee” star Mark Salling, with friends at Tao Asian Bistro on Friday. … “Pitch Perfect” co-stars Skylar Astin and Anna Camp, dining at Andrea’s (Encore) on Friday.... Comedian Carlos Mencia, at Allegro (Wynn) on Friday.

THE PUNCH LINE

“A new report says that members of Congress work harder than the average American. You know why? That’s because thanks to Congress the average American is out of work.” — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.