(Editor's note: The VMAs are a big assignment, and with this year's show taking over Las Vegas all week long, our friends at Us Weekly are helping us make sure we've got every glittering inch of the Strip covered. You'll see their celebrity reporting here at MTV.com this week, and you'll find our music reporting over at UsMagazine.com.)
With her VMA comeback performance just days away, how does Britney Spears take the edge off? Clubbing, of course!
The night before she was expected in Las Vegas to rehearse her single "Gimme More" with illusionist Criss Angel, the perennial party girl, 25, hit up L.A. club Opera.
Accompanied by her cousin Alli Sims, Spears — clad in a cream fedora, gray mini-dress with stockings, knee-high boots and long pearl necklaces — settled into a corner booth around 12:32 a.m. (Her wig of choice? A blonde, shoulder-length number.)
"Britney was in a great mood all night, smiling, laughing, upbeat," a witness says, who adds that Spears also smoked a few cigarettes and danced to Rihanna's "Umbrella."
"She was really getting into the songs," the onlooker says.
Apparently, she worked up a thirst: "Britney drank beer, vodka cranberry and vodka tonic," says the witness.
Sucking a lollypop, Spears left hand-in-hand with Sims at 1:45 a.m.
Alas, the two called it a night after hitting a Wendy's drive-thru around 2:20 a.m.
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