- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Britney’s back

Troubled pop princess Britney Spears has given her first concert in nearly three years, a little more than a month after coming out of rehab and reaching a divorce settlement.

The teen idol put on a 20-minute show in front of a few hundred revelers at San Diego’s House of Blues nightclub, lip-syncing her way through a handful of her most popular hits, local media reports said.

The impromptu concert came after a tumultuous several months that saw Miss Spears give birth to her second child, file for divorce and shave her head before checking into a rehab clinic.

Tuesday’s show was billed as a concert by an unknown band called the M&Ms;, but word that Miss Spears was to perform had spread like wildfire on the Internet in the days leading up to the event.

The pop star’s comeback performance received mixed reviews from those in the audience, who reportedly had shelled out up to $500 on the black market for $35 tickets to the show.

“It wasn’t a good move for her career,” ticket holder Mackenzie Trimble told the San Diego Tribune. “When you come out and do four songs and lip-sync … that’s not what Britney fans came to see.”

One female fan was impressed, though.

“She worked the stage; her body looked great. So it was good to see her finally come back and prove us all wrong,” the fan told Los Angeles television station KNBC.

According to Time magazine, Miss Spears has sold more than 76 million records worldwide.

Suit settled

Celebrity magazine OK! won an appeal yesterday in a long-running legal battle with rival weekly Hello over wedding pictures of Hollywood supercouple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The House of Lords, Britain’s highest court of appeal, backed the right of OK! to protect its $1 million deal with the couple for exclusive photographs of their November 2000 wedding at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

However, the Law Lords ordered the two publications to share the $16 million legal costs, ruling that OK! had not been harmed businesswise by Hello’s publication of so-called spoiler pictures.

Hello secretly took pictures of the couple’s New York wedding in November 2000 despite the deal under which OK! had paid $1 million for exclusive pictures of the event.

A lawyer for Hello magazine lamented the ruling, saying it would give celebrities “a completely new right which will allow [them] to control the information that the general public see about them.”

Miss Zeta-Jones told the 2003 High Court hearing that she felt “devastated, shocked and appalled” when she realized unauthorized photographers had gate-crashed her high-security wedding.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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