Ringmaster Britney Spears commands the stage. Photo: Kevin Mazur, WireImage.com

Last night StyleList joined Britney Spears under the big top as she brought her troupe of magicians, clowns, aerialists, gymnasts (including a woman with no legs) and hot-stepping dancers to Madison Square Garden for her "Circus" tour.

Surprisingly, it was celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton, decked out in a Queen of Hearts costume à la "Alice in Wonderland," who Spears chose to announce her entrance via a pre-taped recording that flashed on a jumbo-sized screen. There were deafening screams as the singer descended from a gilded cage dressed in a red ringmaster's jacket, fishnets and black knee-high boots with five-inch heels.

Simon Says: Miley Cyrus worked the pole like her "hero" Britney at the Teen Choice Awards. Photo: Kevin Mazur, TCA 2009/WireImage.com


Unfortunately, it was obvious from the get-go that Brit Brit was lip-syncing, but that didn't bother us so much. It was more the fact that she seemed to have trouble gyrating effectively in those sky-high contraptions. (It was her back-up dancers who really put on the show.) All in all, Spears seemed to be calling it in rather than actually enjoying herself.

Not that her insatiable fans noticed.

A pack of female followers in front of us had made their own Britney-inspired tees with catch phrases from her songs such as, "I got your crazy" and "I'm intoxicated now," scrawled across their backs. (In both cases the verbiage was an appropriate representation of its wearer.)

At least the women in front of us were (in theory) old enough to drink (and make their own decisions). Not so much for youngsters who knew all of the lyrics to tunes like "Naked" and "If You Seek Amy" (eds note: someone just explained to us what that stands for! Que horror!).

The legless woman, mad queen and unenthusiastic performer were nothing compared to the sight of a father buying two 7-year-old girls matching T-shirts that read "It's Britney, Bitch" in big block letters. Even being the pop culture junkies that we are, one couldn't help but feel a bit perturbed.

"Toxic" behavior aside, it was great to see one of today's most talked about pop stars perform live. That said, don't give up your Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey tickets just yet. (Sorry, Brit!)