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What Could Have Been: A Look Back On Britney’s ‘Domination’ Era

The era that almost was.

Even though we’ve had a second to digest the abrupt news that Britney’s show Domination is no longer happening, the announcement is still sending shockwaves around the world of Britney. The Queen’s second Vegas residency was originally scheduled to kick off one month ago (Feb. 13).

According to a press release, Britney is taking an “indefinite work hiatus” to focus on her father’s health – Jamie’s colon spontaneously ruptured and forced him to undergo emergency surgery at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas and remained under doctor supervision for 28 days.

We haven’t seen the pop star since, and as of March 11th, this is officially the longest gap in between music videos since the start of her career, and there’s no telling when she’ll return.

There was buzz Britney is quietly working on her tenth studio album, but reps for the pop star denied that. We know she’s tapped Justin Tranter and Danja for the forthcoming LP.

The statement.

“After a long, complicated post-operative period, he is recuperating at home and gaining strength, and is expected to make a full recovery,” the press release read.

“I am dedicating my focus and energy to care for my family,” Britney said in a statement. “We have a very special relationship and I want to be with my family at this time just like they have always been there for me.”

She adds: “Thank you to all my fans for your continued love and support during this time. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and I look forward to the time when I can be back on stage performing for all of you.”

The creative directors, dancers and crew.

What’s bizarre about the announcement was that Britney’s Domination creative directors, Nappy Tabs, found out when everyone else did. Just 24 hours prior to Britney’s announcement, they posted about rehearsals. “Back to rehearsals and Pre Production for @britneyspears #Domination,” they wrote on social media. ” Can’t believe we open in a month. Lots to be excited about, lots to figure out, lots of excitement, lots of anxiety!” They were even answering fans’ questions about the show minutes before Britney dropped the bomb.

Same for her dancers. They found out they lost their jobs without notice. Nappy Tabs held an emergency meeting with them hours after the announcement to pickup moral. In a video posted to Twitter, Tabitha A. D’umo (the Tabs in NappyTabs) gives the dancers some hope Domination can return. “This show can come back,” she says. “Because I think some of the s–t that we were doing was pretty awesome… [the] design is already built and we can bring it and actually workshop on it. And bring the choreographers back and figure out ways to only make it better.”

The Setlist:

One of the least controlled elements leading up to Domination was the show’s setlist. Britney was generous with rehearsal footage that highlighted some of the Domination performances.

Fans could have expected to see performances of “Slave 4 U,” “Break The Ice,” “Scream & Shout (Remix),” “Do You Wanna Come Over” and “Coupure Électrique.” Britney wore a hospital mask in one video she shared dancing to the Glory closer, and fans wondered if it’s because she needed to refresh her memory on the lyrics that were sung in French.

It appears “I Love Rock N Roll” was also slated to be in Domination. One of Britney’s dancers shared a moment from rehearsals and used hashtag #iloverocknroll on it.

There was a very real possibility of “3” making the cut again. In that same Instagram story that revealed “I Love Rock N Roll,” fans noticed the same wheelie triangle prop Britney used for that number in Piece Of Me. We love recycleney.

“Gimme More” was also making another appearance. It might have had the now iconic “WHO IS IT” fan sample added in. No one can confirm if the original source who made the remix was officially connected to the show or not, but in the intro of the mix it included a voice chanting “who is it?” Presumably, the audience would fill in the blank with “it’s Britney, bitch!”

After Britney’s announcement, Nappy Tabs confirmed to fans that “Overprotected” and “My Prerogative” were also on the setlist. The news was whiplash, because while it’s exciting to know she was open to including the Britney cut again, and performing “My Prerogative” for the first time EVER, the surprise is ruined for when the show returns.

One of Britney’s new backup dancers shared rehearsal footage (sans Britney) of them dancing to “Lucky,” so that was also in Domination.

They confirmed “Hold It Against Me” did not make the cut.

Cancellation / Postponed

This is a sensitive subject for die-hard fans. We originally reported the show was cancelled – our story went live soon after Britney’s post, but before Park MGM’s press release and Instagram post saying Domination was postponed.

Our take on it was that Britney saying she will “not be performing” Domination and offering fans refunds was a cancellation. Her official website called it an “indefinite work hiatus,” which to me sounds like a nice way of saying cancelled. However, Park MGM is maintaining that the show will return, but no one has any idea when. Presumably when Jamie Spears is fully recovered – which he is expected too.

Nappy Tabs is speculating that it could be six months to a year, but that’s a total guess.

A report on Billboard suggests Britney might have to pony up several million dollars to make up for the indefinite work hiatus / postponement / cancellation to make up for the costs the venue and its owners MGM Grand invested in preproduction for the show. That includes the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pre-show extravaganza in October. You know, the announcement of the announcement where Britney appeared briefly and never uttered a single word.

If the show was truly postponed, I imagine Park MGM would have strategized and released new show dates, or given fans a timeframe as to when they can expect the show to pick back up. Perhaps there was too short notice for that. It’s still very unclear if Domination will ever see the light of day. And if it does, Nappy Tabs would like to re-name it to Stronger.

Ticket Sales

Another touchy subject. Opening night of Domination was practically 50% unsold, which is usually unheard of leading up to an event like this. How is Britney Spears, one of the most iconic pop stars on the planet, having trouble selling out opening night? There’s a couple of reasons to attribute to this:

1.) The turnover. Fans haven’t had enough time in between Piece Of Me and Domination. If Britney spent a couple of years away from the Las Vegas strip, fans would likely be more willing to shell out the money it costs to travel to Vegas and see the living legend in action. Let’s be real: A quick trip to Vegas ain’t cheap.

2.) No new music. If Britney announced a new single and album leading up to the Domination announcement, fans would turn a blind eye to the coin cost and shell out because OMG BRITNEY’S PERFORMING NEW MUSIC. Yes, when we go see a Britney concert we expect to see the hits, but there’s also a very real expectation to enjoy something unseen/unheard. Not releasing new music and incorporating it into the show was a travesty.

3.) Lady Gaga. Gaga’s star power is at an all-time high, and her show Enigma sold-out almost immediately. Let’s not pretend Gaga singing on a fire-breathing transformer robot isn’t a visual spectacle that was direct competition with our fav.

Britney spotted post-Domination

It’s interesting that we rarely get candids of Britney these days, but following the news photogs have spotted Britney on several occasions. The day of the announcement, they caught her grabbing a milkshake in LA, then days later at an In-N-Out drive through with boyfriend Sam Asghari. It’s worth mentioning though we haven’t seen her since.

What’s next?

Obviously, the situation is unfortunate for all parties involved. I think fans jumping to the conclusion that Britney cancelled / postponed Domination because of poor ticket sales aren’t paying enough consideration to her father’s well-being. If Britney and co. wanted to make lemonade, they could use 2019 to regroup. If and when she’s in a place to return to work… get inspired, get back in the studio, release new music and rebrand/re-name Domination. But only if she’s in it to win it.