LAS VEGAS — Vegas may as well be Britney Spears' second home. While the pop star lives in Southern California, she has clocked enough hours here to practically qualify for residency — with the Palms Casino Resort usually as her homebase. Granted, she's stayed at other Vegas hotels, but none have had quite the history with Spears as the one that's about to host her VMA comeback. Though we don't know all the details — after all, what happens in Vegas usually stays in Vegas — here are a few of Britney's unforgettable Sin City milestones.
Britney's First Time ... at the Tables:
"When Britney was 21, I taught her how to play blackjack," Palms owner George Maloof recalled. Though Maloof won't give up his (and, therefore, perhaps Britney's) trade secrets — who can blame him? — he did spill that after Spears played $100 a hand for 12 hands in a row, she walked away with $20,000. "It was a real lucky streak. I called it 'Britney Blackjack.' " After that first big win, Britney had another "lucky streak" at the Palms' high-limit lounge the Mint in November, when she won $10,000. Sounds like we should hit up Maloof for lessons, too.
Britney Loses Her Shirt:
Before releasing her last studio album, 2003's In the Zone, Spears gave a steamy sneak peek to a crowd at Palms nightclub Rain in September 2003. About 1,800 clubgoers witnessed a surprise 30-minute set from the singer. At the show, Spears unveiled her first performance of "Breathe on Me," during which the singer and her dancers crawled onto a bed and pretended to make out (see "Britney Gets 'Just A Little Freaky' On In The Zone"). One of the dancers ripped Spears' top off, exposing her red bra. At least she was wearing underwear.
Britney's First Time ... at the Altar :
"Vegas made me do it" might have been Britney's excuse for getting married to childhood friend Jason Alexander in January 2004, but the Palms walked her down the aisle (see "Inside Britney's Wild Weekend"). The singer, who was staying at the "Real World" suite at the Palms to ring in 2004, took a Palms stretch limo with a hotel bellhop to the Clark County Courthouse for a marriage license and then to the Little White Wedding Chapel, where the same bellhop gave Spears away (talk about full service!). By that afternoon, Maloof hooked up Spears with a divorce attorney who prepared annulment papers. But before the marriage was over, a wedding reception of sorts was staged at the Palms' N9NE Steakhouse. "I was in Vegas," Spears later explained during a phone call to "TRL," "and it took over me and things got out of hand."
Britney's "Suicide" — And Resurrection:
Within a few months of her quickie marriage, Spears decided to use one of her music videos to respond to rumors that she was out of control and needed help (sound familiar?). So in spring 2004, she came up with the concept for "Everytime," in which she would commit suicide only to be reborn (in the face of protests, she later toned down her "death" to be more of an accident; see "Britney Spears Removes Suicide Plot From 'Everytime' Video"). While the video was actually shot in Los Angeles, it takes place in Las Vegas, where Spears and her fictional beau — played by Stephen Dorff — take refuge from the paparazzi in a lavish hotel suite. The helicopter shot of the Palms makes it clear where it all takes place — even if the video itself leaves unanswered questions (Where does the blood suddenly comes from? Did she hurt her head or was it ... stigmata?). Only Britney could turn Sin City into something vaguely holy.
Britney's Baby Drama:
By the time Britney's second marriage had dissolved (see "Britney Spears, Kevin Federline Reach Divorce Settlement"), she had become a Vegas regular, hosting parties at Pure and LAX, reportedly bringing new beaus to the Palms' Sky Villa, and scuffling with the paparazzi in July of this year. George Maloof can breathe easy on that last one — the photographer in question was trying to take the pictures of Spears and her sons at the Wynn hotel and casino. Spears' bodyguard has since been charged with battery, and the singer got flak for taking her children out of state without notifying ex Kevin Federline — causing bumps in her custody battle.
Britney's Comeback to Come:
Beyond her upcoming appearance Sunday at the Video Music Awards (see "Britney Spears To Open 2007 MTV Video Music Awards: It's Official!"), Spears has made Vegas part of her next album too — some of the material meant for the yet-untitled November 13 release was mixed and recorded at the Studio at the Palms. "She's spent some time in the recording studio here," Maloof confirmed. "I don't know how much she recorded will actually end up on the album, though." Spears' label rep didn't know either — it's too soon to tell — but one thing's for sure: We'll be hearing more music than scandal from the singer at least for one weekend (see "Britney Spears Hits The Clubs In Hollywood Before Preparing For The Big Show"). (Why wait until Sunday to get your VMAs on? See who might take home the most prized Moonman, what to bring to Sin City and much more.)
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