Britney Spears to bring Femme Fatale to the UK and Ireland in October 2011

Britney Spears - Femme Fatale
Britney Spears - Femme Fatale

Where to start with Britney? Let's start with the good.

Her 1999 debut album, 'Baby One More Time', sold more than 25 million copies. Follow-up 'Oops, I Did It Again' nearly did it again, amassing global sales of around 20 million. In fact, the total sales from her seven studio albums to date - including this year's 'Femme Fatale' - surpass the 70 million mark. Not bad.

Britney has a successful range of fragrances and she is, in many ways, the icon of a new generation. She's reportedly worth well in excess of $100 million. She's young - still just 29 - and on her day, quite striking. What could go wrong?

In 2003, Spears appeared to be at the peak of her powers. Her fourth album, 'In the Zone', was another 10-million-plus seller, she was the face of Pepsi and was snogging Madonna (still just about a desirable thing to do in 2003). Then, in January 2004, she inexplicably married Jason Alexander in Las Vegas. The marriage was soon annulled stating that Britney "lacked understanding of her actions". The warning signs were there, as were suggestions it wasn't just success she was high on. A bad knee injury then laid her low and the wheels wobbled further when she married dancer Kevin Federline, with his bad-boy persona and pointlessly abridged moniker, K-Fed.

The rest is, more or less, on YouTube. Television reality shows, rumours of a drug habit, head-shaving, custody battles, questionable parenting, weight gain and the occasional crotch shot became Britney's currency. In 2008 she was committed to the psychiatric ward of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, released into the hands of her parents after a week. More music and tours followed but - despite relative commercial success - there's been little to suggest Britney Spears is back on top of her game.

The world still awaits The Comeback. The one where Britney emerges as a sharp, astute, healthy, gorgeous 21st century woman tearing through her encyclopaedia of modern pop classics to the open-mouthed awe of absolutely everyone who said she was finished. The world is still waiting, but Britney has time on her side for now.

Also on her side is the fact that throughout the lows, she has remained a top ratings-winner and box office draw. She set a sales record for her first Elizabeth Arden fragrance, Curious. She set an MTV Sunday night ratings record for her 2008 'Britney: For the Record' documentary. Her appearance on Glee secured the show's highest ever viewing figures.

So, in spite of her uncoordinated mauling of once-tight dance routines on Good Morning America, or her apparent (and slight, let's be honest) weight gain on occasion, when she lands in Ireland to play Dublin's O2 Arena on the 24th October the city will go Britney crazy. And when she heads into the UK to play Belfast's Odyssey Arena, London's O2 Arena, the LG Arena in Birmingham and Manchester's Evening News Arena over the following nights, the excitement and anticipation will be at fever pitch.

Tickets go on general sale at 9AM on Friday 10th June, starting at £55. The Dublin show is on sale at the same time, tickets starting at €54.80.

Good luck getting tickets and good luck Britney.

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