Britney Spears’ manager went on the defensive today in an interview with Billboard. Larry Rudolph defended his client over rumors she will lip-sync her entire “Piece of Me” Las Vegas show and that her residency is already suffering from low ticket sales. Britney Spears announced plans to release a new album this winter and a two year Las Vegas residency earlier this month.
When questioned over Spear’s intention to lip-sync her way through her Vegas shows Rudolph told Billboard, “She's going to be singing live. She does choreography and vocal coaching every day. The vocal coaching is really just to strengthen her voice and get her to a point where she can go out there every night and do a full show.
It's hard for the public to fully understand what goes on when you get on stage and you're dancing full out during a song. No matter what anyone says, there's not a single artist who goes out there and does full choreography and is singing without a vocal track underneath them at the same time. It's physically impossible. We're just trying to build up her stamina and get her to a point where she can do as much as humanly possible. The idea is to try to get her pretty close to 100%. There might be some numbers where she's full out dancing with a (vocal) track underneath her, but there won't be any lip-syncing across the board on anything.”
This statement in itself is not entirely based in fact. Plenty of artists can dance and sing at the same time, but Britney has never been one of them. Rudolph’s response also ignores that Spears has lip-synced almost all of her previous tours. It is hard not to miss this when Britney is barely able to even remember the words to her songs and you can clearly tell on recordings of her concerts that she is not even mouthing the words that are coming out of the speakers. It is also evident that when on her tours Britney has actually sung a song that her voice sounds entirely different than it does during the prerecorded numbers and not for the better.
Rudolph then went on to defend the low ticket sales for Britney’s initial “Piece of Me” dates, “You have these idiot tabloid reporters who are completely irresponsible and love taking pot shots at Britney. One guy did it and everybody else picked it up. It's based on nothing, other than an "industry insider," who they'll never disclose. But it's damaging to Britney. So we had to go on the offensive and put out correct information to counteract it.
When we went on sale with our pre-sale, we sold out every single VIP package for all 16 shows. We had to create new ones just to fill some of the demand, because people were starting to get pissed off that there weren't enough out there. Caesars told us that a highly successful launch would be selling 10% of the ticket stock on the on sale. I think we either tripled or quadrupled that. They told us it was literally the best on-sale they'd ever had. Now they've come back to me and asked if it's OK to put the next round of dates on sale sooner than we had originally discussed. They haven't given me an exact date for it yet, but I said of course.”
Of course Britney Spear’s manager is going to say everything is going great and that reporters are all idiots, but any one with even a basic understanding of the Las Vegas concert scene can see the real truth in Rudolph’s response. Elton John, Celine Dion and Cher regularly sell out their Vegas residencies within hours of tickets going on sale. A ten percent level of ticket sales would spell doom for most artists and even at the twenty to thirty percent threshold he claims “Piece of Me” has hit the show would by all standards be seen as an early failure.
Based on the sell-out of “Piece of Me” VIP packages it appears as if diehard fans bought tickets as soon as they were made available, but that the public in general has shown little interest in the show. It will be interesting to see how well these deluxe VIP packages continue to sell as more dates are released.
Britney’s new single “Work B*tch” has also failed to impact with the public. The song sat at the top of the iTunes charts on its release date, but quickly fell out of the top ten.