Two fans win the chance to meet Britney Spears in person
Eight contestants battled it out on Saturday for the chance to win the Ultimate Britney VIP Experience
They sang, they danced, and for their idol Britney Spears, they worked it - hard.
Last Saturday, eight contestants battled it out at 313@Somerset for the chance to win the Ultimate Britney VIP Experience during the American pop star's first-ever concert here this Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
It comprises a pair of Category 1 tickets worth $568 each, a limousine transfer to and from the concert, a one-night stay at Quincy Hotel and a photo opportunity with Spears.
The contest was organised by local radio station Kiss92 FM.
The hopefuls were given only 92 seconds to perform, and were also judged on other categories including audience response, trivia questions and their overall "Britney-ness".
Winner Joel Lim, a 24-year-old Nanyang Technological University undergrad, wowed the crowd with his personal take on Spears' song Circus and her iconic 2001 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance where she held a live python.
Decked out in a circus ringmaster costume similar to hers, an elated Mr Lim told The New Paper: "When I found out about the contest, the winning factor for me was the meet-and-greet with Britney. As all my friends and family know, I'm a huge fan of hers since 1998. I signed up immediately."
His costume cost less than $50 and took two days to put together. His dance choreography involved him standing on a chair and carrying a toy snake to interact with the judges and audience.
"I had a clear idea in my head to channel Britney's Circus, and I knew that I wanted the whip and her iconic snake, which I bought from Ikea. Her VMAs performance sealed her status as a pop star for me," he said.
Britney Live in Singapore
June 30, 8pm
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$368 to $568 (available at press time) from www.sportshubtix.sg or call 3158-7888
Mr Lim added: "I chose Circus because as a fan, it was a winning moment to see her make a proper comeback with that album after her difficult time, where it also impacted a lot of people at the same time.
"I went through a really tough time. If she can get through her 2007 breakdown, so can you."
Friday won't be the first time Mr Lim sees Spears in concert, as he attended her Las Vegas gig last month, even skipping his lunch and dinner so he could afford to buy a cup and a keychain from her show.
He said: "Britney is an example of how a great pop artist... impacted an entire generation of artists like Selena Gomez and fans like us."
But Mr Lim wasn't the only one beaming after the event.
In true Steve Harvey fashion a la the infamous Miss Universe 2015 finals, host and Kiss92 FM DJ John Klass alerted everyone that there was a mistake in the naming of the winner, only to surprise Mr Zachary Hourihane with giant party poppers that he had won the Ultimate Britney VIP Experience too.
The 20-year-old student from Sarah Lawrence College in New York told TNP: "It was insane. I really had no idea what was going on. Usually with these contests, I feel like they only have one grand prize.
"I felt so incredibly lucky and surprised. Honestly, I was not expecting to win at all. I thought I might place for a good prize as I prepared well and felt confident about my performance, but the competition was fierce and I didn't think I stood a chance."
Mr Hourihane did a simple acoustic performance of Spears' Toxic, which received much praise from the judges, Kiss92 FM DJs Joshua Simon, Claressa Monteiro and Charmaine Yee.
Mr Hourihane, who was in Singapore for his summer break, said that Toxic was one of the first songs he learnt to play on the guitar.
He added: "It kickstarted my interest in playing instruments and writing original music, so I thought it would be a fitting homage to my journey with music and my love for Britney."
Like Mr Lim, Mr Hourihane felt that Spears' notorious breakdown in 2007 was something that got him through a difficult time in his life.
He said: "She taught me how to be resilient. During the period of her Blackout album in 2007 to 2008, I saw how persecuted she was by the press due to her struggles with mental health, which empowered me to seek help for my own issues. Also, her constant message of positivity and learning to laugh at some of the hardest things in life has always inspired me."