Expectations could not have been higher for Britney Spears heading into tonight’s Video Music Awards, where the beleaguered pop star was to be the evening’s keynote performer — her first major stage show in years. Every celebrity who entered on the red carpet listed hers as the performance to see tonight. Would she be the Brit of old, who paraded on stage with a python without breaking a sweat? Or was it to be the Britney of recent months — out of sorts, disconnected? Within moments of her taking the stage, it was clear which Britney had arrived.

"She looked lost and confused," one member inside the Palms tells OK!. "She was definitely not into it." According to the audience insider, many of the bigger names in music "sat stunned" during Britney’s performance. "People were shaking their heads and wondering what happened."

Another question on the lips of folks in the theater was "Where was Criss Angel?" The Vegas illusionist, who has been linked romantically to Britney in recent weeks, was reportedly going to be part of her performance but was no where to be seen.

So does this latest misstep spell doomsday for Britney? Only time will tell. Her new as-yet-untitled CD is scheduled to be released Nov. 13.

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