Alright everyone, I want to play a game of word association. I’m sure all of you know how it works. I say a word and you say the first word that comes to your mind. Ready? Okay, the word is the name of a city: Las Vegas. Now I’m sure there are several names or words that immediately came into your minds like gambling, weddings, bachelor party, resorts, lights, boxing and so on. The fact is that any large city anywhere in the world will procure various associated and descriptive terms. Las Vegas is known the world over as The Entertainment Capital of the World because of its wealth of consolidated casinos and hotels and associated entertainment. The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs.
Do you remember Elvis Presley singing the title song of his movie Viva Las Vegas? When I hear the name Las Vegas it’s the first thing that pops into my head. I really didn’t know what it meant, and so I immediately did my research and found the phrase Viva Las Vegas basically means long live Las Vegas. Most of you out there who had a good time in the city will echo those sentiments. Others may have left some dollars in the city and may not feel the same way. Nevertheless, many persons hope that Las Vegas will continue to prosper and therefore agree wholeheartedly with the phrase. Throughout many years Las Vegas has been well known for many entertainers who headline shows at many of the luxurious hotels. I’m sure most folks know the name Wayne Newton; the singer whose name is synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment. Many big names have enjoyed long residencies performing in the city, and last month the announcement came of one more preparing for a two year residency at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood: Britney Spears.
Interestingly, I have not discussed this with anyone before writing this post. I normally deliberate much of what I write with several people to get a feel for how the general public may feel about a particular entertainer or their current issues. This time I read about it, but decided to embark on the commentary and share how the news shaped my own thinking.
First of all I must tell you I was a little surprised. Of course Britney Spears is a major celebrity and music star in her own right. The thirty-one year old singer/songwriter from Macomb, Mississippi has been performing since her pre-teen years. Spears was established as a pop icon and credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s. She became the ‘best-selling teenaged artist of all time’ before she turned 20, and garnered honorific titles including the “Princess of Pop”. Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, six MTV Video Music Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, nine Billboard Music Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In spite of her much publicized personal struggles in 2007, Spears remains a very popular recording artist today.
Nevertheless, I am surprised by Britney Spears selection for Las Vegas residency after reflecting upon the history of performers chosen prior to her. Sammy Davis, Jr. Frank Sinatra, Lola Falana, Tom Jones, Celine Dion are just a partial list of performers who have headlined successfully in Las Vegas. All of them, like Britney Spears, were very popular in their times. However, Spears comes to Las Vegas without the reputation as a strong vocalist. Surely she will put on a first rate show full of glitz and glamour. Her fan base has traditionally been very satisfied with her concert performances. Will the Vegas audiences appreciate the glitz without the major vocal presence? Or, has the Vegas audience changed over the years? Very possible! It seems many fans and others are eagerly anticipating her appearances. If everything goes well, it’s possible Britney Spears residency will continue long past the initially contracted two years. Viva Britney!