Few pop stars can command the stage like Britney Spears. In her nearly 20 years in the industry, she has delivered multiple noteworthy performances that will live on in infamy and have secured her title as the reigning princess of pop. Whether she’s skipping across the stage, writhing with a snake, or simply delivering an impassioned vocal track, the “Slumber Party” siren knows how to keep all eyes on her. I’ve rounded up ten of her best performances from over the years. Brace yourself for the slayage before checking them out below.
10. The Circus Tour Starring Britney Spears: “Piece of Me”
The pop princess found herself locked in a cage and delivering some fierce hair whippage during a performance of “Piece of Me” on her 2009 world tour. The bars on the cage may have resembled a prison, but it’s safe to say that she held her audience captive with her confident but simple choreography and striking staging.
9. 2004 The Onyx Hotel Tour: “Toxic”
The only way to make the eternally iconic “Toxic” better is by adding an extended dance break, which is exactly what Brit did while performing it on tour in 2004. After riding into the arena on a vintage style tour bus, she slid down a fireman’s pole and delivered some of her most athletic moves to date.
8. 2003 Saturday Night Live: “Everytime”
Though she’s renowned for her intense choreography and sensual staging, Britney stripped things back and highlighted her evocative vocals while performing her career-defining ballad “Everytime” on SNL in 2003. Her voice rose in a fragile plea for forgiveness over melancholy keys and ethereal strings, making it one of her most promising sets to date.
7. 2001 Dream Within A Dream Tour: “Oops!…I Did It Again”
“Oops!…I Did It Again” took on a rock edge during 2001’s Dream Within A Dream Tour. Opening the show with the massive hit, she took the stage amidst a heavy guitar riff and flames before hitting all the right moves.
6. 2016 Billboard Music Awards: Hits Medley
Before accepting the BBMAs Millennium Award for her contributions to pop music, Brit took the stage in a daring red outfit to remind the world of what she was capable of. The hit-filled performance was her first live set at an American awards show since her disastrous VMAs outing in 2007, and it was a triumphant return to form.
5. 1999 Billboard Music Awards: “Baby One More Time/Crazy”
Britney was tasked with teaching a new generation the ways of the past during her outing at the 1999 BBMAs, and she did just that with a jazz-inspired version of her breakout debut single and a dance-heavy rendition of her followup “Crazy.” Dance breaks galore and a back handspring coupled with live vocals set an example for all aspiring pop princesses to follow.
4. 2003 American Music Awards: “Me Against The Music”
Before pop icon Madonna agreed to hop on the lead single to In The Zone, Britney performed a fierce remix of the cut at the American Music Awards. Channelling her inner dominatrix in a violet corset, she performed one of her most challenging choreographies with ease after descending from the ceiling.
3. 2000 Video Music Awards: “Satisfaction/Oops!…I Did It Again”
The VMAs have been viewed as the arena where a hopeful star can make or break their career since Madonna graced the stage in her sexy bridal gown in the ’80s. Brit became one of the first pop stars to take things to the next level in the new millennium by stripping down to a nude colored body suit while performing the lead single from her sophomore LP. With one performance she proved that she definitely not that innocent but was ready for big things.
2. 2003 ABC Special: “Boys/I’m A Slave 4 U”
Her 2003 special on ABC spawned some of her best performances to date, but a medley of “Boys” and “I’m A Slave 4 U” is the moment that will live on in infamy. Brit and a horde of dancers worked their way through some intricate choreography, before the industry heavy hitter broke things down with an extended breakdown complete with gyrations and a jaw-dropping split. The best part of the performance came at the end, as her face lit up with an utterly gleeful grin.
1. 2001 Video Music Awards: “I’m A Slave 4 U”
It seemed impossible for Britney to one-up her titillating performance at the 2000 VMAs. However, where there is a will there is a way. She transformed the stage into a lush jungle and played the role of seductive nymph while belly dancing with a python (RIP Banana) around her shoulders. The performance went down in history as one of the greatest ever at the VMAs and solidified Brit’s title as the princess of pop.