Britney Spears silences critics with live birthday song
Fans stand by US pop star, who addressed lip-syncing allegations
The world had become so used to Britney Spears lip-syncing during her high-energy performances, people almost forgot what her live singing voice sounds like.
Which is why, when the US pop star unleashed it - however briefly - during her first concert in Singapore last Fridayat the Singapore Indoor Stadium in front of a 7,800-strong audience, fans were floored.
The 35-year-old had paused the 1½-hour gig midway to belt out Happy Birthday a capella to her bodyguard Jacob, complete with soulful vocal runs.
It was such a big deal and a rarity, the moment made headlines internationally over the weekend, from People magazine to Billboard.
It's as if she was trying to prove a point that she still has the pipes.
In a recent interview with an Israeli TV show, ahead of her concert in Tel Aviv tonight, Spears addressed lip-syncing allegations by explaining that due to her intense choreography, there is a "mixture" of her voice and the playback.
She added: "It really pisses me off because I'm busting my ass out there and singing at the same time. And nobody ever really gives me credit for it, you know?"
Indeed, Spears - who looked like a Victoria's Secret Angel in skimpy, sparkly bodysuits throughout - was a pro at working the stage and delivering a visual spectacle, along with a mix of old and newer hits.
For hardcore fans like Mr Joel Lim, a 24-year-old undergrad, Spears' live rendition of Happy Birthday was his favourite part of the concert as it "silenced all the haters".
He told The New Paper: "I honestly don't understand why Britney lip-syncing is still an issue this late into her career.
"Her fans don't pay to watch her expecting powerhouse vocals. Britney is known for putting on a spectacular show and she proved that.
"Also, she did sing live, even if it was for a short segment - and she proved all the naysayers wrong."
Mr Zachary Hourihane, a 20-year-old student, felt his idol "brought her A-game".
He told TNP: "She showed so much personality and sang live for the first time in forever. She played all of her hits... And her choreography was on fire."
Both men won Kiss92 FM's Ultimate Britney VIP Experience contest over a week agoand got to take a photo with Spears during a meet-and-greet before the concert.
Said Mr Lim: "It was a really sweet moment - we shared a hug!"
Mr Hourihane added: "She was really beautiful and so sweet.
"We were told to keep it brief and not to compliment her too much by her staff, so I just told her she looked stunning and good luck for the show.
"It was surreal and felt like it was over in a flash, but was still so fulfilling to experience after all this time of being a fan."