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Britney Spears' 'Piece of Me' rollout in Las Vegas a gamble for audiences

LOS ANGELES -- Britney Spears helped usher dance music into the American pop mainstream with propulsive hit singles like “Toxic” and “Till the World Ends.” So it's only fair that Las Vegas EDM culture is now returning the favor.

Sin City's recent musical revamp — from the home of moribund legacy acts into the planet's most high-rolling DJ haven — has laid the groundwork for Britney's debut residency. The performer's “Piece of Me” kicks off Friday night at Planet Hollywood.

It's unparalleled for a contemporary, major Top 40 pop act to embark on a long-term Vegas engagement while it's still on the charts — and on the playlists of people under 35. Britney's new show may prove a game changer, and it probably wouldn't have happened without the ascent of dance music in Vegas.

“Without a question,” said Kurt Melien of the crucial role EDM played in Britney's crossover to Vegas. Melien is the VP of entertainment of Caesar's, which owns Planet Hollywood. “It's a new Vegas, the capital of the nightlife world, where young audiences come to see Tiesto and Calvin Harris play exclusive residencies. Singles like 'Toxic' and 'Work Bitch' make you want to stand up and dance, and that's the undercurrent of this production.”

Still, Spears' “Piece of Me” is a gamble on a confluence of pop music and nightlife trends.

Since its rollout in September — when Spears announced the residency on “Good Morning America” — the details of the career-spanning show have tested the draw of Spears' stardom and Vegas' ability to get young, EDM-generation fans into a seated theater.

Just a few days before the Dec. 27 opening of “Piece of Me,” tickets were still available for the opening night, and most nights to come.

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