Take ambassador off the list of careers Britney Spears might want to pursue
if she ever tires of singing.
The pop star, who seems to have no problem maintaining good relations with
fans at home, suffered another international incident this past week by
twice angering her Mexican fans, who chanted, "Fraud!" when she cut short
the final show of her world tour.
It's customary for American artists playing to international audiences
who don't get to see certain performers as often to go out of
their way to charm fans, either by adopting local protocol, attempting the
language or striving for punctuality. Spears already had a brush with how
different cultures have modified expectations when she was booed in England
in March for arriving late and then not lingering and signing autographs
outside the London premiere of "Crossroads."
There, she was only late and unavailable, not rude. But upon landing in Toluca, about 40 miles from Mexico City, on July 23, Spears gave a waiting crowd the one-finger salute. Understandably, Mexican fans and press took it as a snub, prompting an apology from the singer, who said the obscene gesture was intended for paparazzi, not fans. "I am human," she later said at a press conference. "And like everyone else, sometimes I get mad too."
Then perhaps she can understand why her fans got mad. Four songs into
her concert at Mexico City's Foro del Sol on Sunday, Spears added insult to the previous injury by abruptly cutting the show short due to rain, outraging the crowd of 52,000. Saying, "I'm sorry, Mexico. I love you. Bye," Spears left the stage during the set's fifth song, "Stronger."
Fans booed, hurled chairs and other items, and chanted, "Fraud!" according
to reports in local newspapers Milenio and El Universal. Some
fans refused to leave the stadium, despite PA announcements that the show
Afterward, Spears, her record label and concert organizers Ocesa Presenta
blamed thunder and lightning for the short set. "I'm sorry I couldn't finish
the show for my fans," Spears said in a statement Tuesday (July 30). "The
Mexican fans are one of the best audiences to play for. We decided that we
had no choice but to cancel the show after the storm and lightning showed no
signs of clearing up."
Initial reports of the incident didn't indicate the cause of Spears'
abbreviated set or mention the rainy weather conditions, which are
considered typical for the region. Concert organizers said fans will begin
receiving refunds later this week for the tickets, which had cost between
$14 and $190.
Ocesa Presenta director Guillermo Parra told El Universal that
although concerts in Mexico City normally anticipate rain, and concerts from
artists such as Bon Jovi and 'NSYNC have continued in the rain, Sunday
night's incident involved special circumstances. "There was no trick nor
deceit," Parra told the paper, "but climatic conditions cannot be
"A hazardous lightning storm made it essential for Spears to depart the
stage," Jive Records said in a statement. "Spears began the show during a
break between two rainstorms, but the degree of risk to the audience and
stage crew associated with the second storm, an electrical storm, made it
impossible for the show to continue."