Despite the ample supply of confetti, little people, daring acrobatic feats, rings of fire and an extravaganza of lights found last Thursday at L.A.’s STAPLES Center, this was not your average circus. Ringmaster Britney Spears brought a different kind of show to town as part of her first tour in five years.

Despite all the flash and glitz, it was a rather disappointing experience. The choreography was top-notch and the costumes were amazing, but Britney seemed like a robot. Granted, Spears has been through a lot these past few years. Her highly publicized downward spiral from underage pop sensation to bald, batty mother of two has (unsurprisingly) taken a toll on her live act.

There is one word that can adequately sum up Spears’ show: awkward. Spears did not address the audience at all, except to briefly thank everyone for coming, and her set was a mere 90 minutes. Spears is presumably under such tight image control that she has been instructed to keep her mouth shut, so as to prevent her from saying something crazy that would end up all over the news the next day.

Britney did not, of course, disappoint in the song selection, lip-synching all her classics like “…Baby One More Time,” “Gimme More,” “Toxic” and the show-closing “Womanizer.”

The show’s sets and costumes were impeccable. Spears’ wardrobe consisted of beautifully crafted pieces designed by Canadian brothers Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2. Britney’s body looked amazing in every outfit, many of which consisted of little more than a body suit covered in sparkles and leather, and she has regained those dance moves she was once so well known for. The backup dancers were highly skilled, and each got their own short solo to perform along with the music of their choice, which added a little something extra to the already over-the-top show.

Although at times, I felt like I could have listened to a Britney Spears CD in my room for free and it might have been about the same, it is nice to see the singer almost back to her former post as the reigning “Princess of Pop.” This tour should show fans that Spears is doing better than ever and is coming with full force back on the music scene.