All those Britney Nation fans out there longing for Brit’s live-performance “salad days” are apparently still in for a wait. As she kicks off a series of promotional performances for her latest album Femme Fatale–the pop star’s first stage appearances since her massive Circus tour wrapped in 2009–everyone really, really wanted to believe Britney can still turn it out. Why? Because at the top of her game, she really was the real deal — a game-changer, a superstar, a “slave for you.” But, my have times changed. In her two gigs this past weekend–Friday night at Las Vegas’ Rain nightclub in the Palms resort and Sunday afternoon at a taping for Good Morning America– Brit performed three tracks from Femme Fatale: her first two singles “Hold It Against Me” and “Till the World Ends,” and “Big Fat Bass,” produced by The Vegas set was even recorded by MTV for a special that will be broadcast this week to help promote the album.

But as in her video for the first single “Hold It Against Me”, her recent stage performances were riddled with limp and lifeless dancing, and were void of her once ferocious glares and determined gazes into the camera, aka “feeling.” There’s no question she hasn’t been on her game since the album In the Zone came out in 2003. The last time anyone saw her dance with any conviction was in like 2004 and the last time she turned on her mic for a live performance was probably the great wardrobe malfunction of March 2009. Whatever her reasons for the lackluster moves and stoic emotion on stage, she does pull it together here in a cute straw fedora and gorgeous Tom Ford shades, available in four frame hues.  –rpuccia

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