Tabloid celebrity and pop singer Britney Spears has impressed with the sold-out opening night of a spectacular comeback concert tour – her first in five years.

Spears, who over the last few years had become more famous for her personal problems and for leading her life in front of the paparazzi than for singing, kicked off her The Circus tour in New Orleans on Tuesday night.

The big-top-inspired show saw the singer, who is looking fit and toned, performing for over an hour and a half and staging various choreographed dance numbers featuring a troupe of dancers, acrobats and fantastic costumes and set-pieces.

Following an opening performance by The Pussycat Dolls, the concert began as Spears descended from above onto an in-the-round centre stage to launch the show with her recent hit song Circus.

While it was claimed by blogger Perez Hilton that Spears lip-synched the entire show and she was generally criticised for not interacting with the audience, the production – which was directed by Jamie King – was as a whole widely praised.

“The pop star pulls out all the bells, whistles and clowns in a sparkly New Orleans show that dazzles fans and sets her up for a big comeback,” said the LA Times.

The NY Post added, “…[Britney fans] want lavish productions, insane choreography and spectacle, spectacle, spectacle! Well, that’s exactly what they were given. All in all, it seemed like the kick off was a resounding success.”

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