MTS Centre, Winnipeg - September 15, 2007

DAVID SCHMEICHEL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Eat your heart out, Britney Spears.

Less than a week after the beleaguered pop princess crashed and burned in front of millions at the MTV Video Music Awards, along comes R&B diva Beyonce to show her how it's really done.

While it may be unfair to compare the two -- given Beyonce's MTS Centre gig last night was scheduled to run two hours, while Britney's zombified lip-syncing routine lasted (mercifully) for just one song -- the two performances still serve as an interesting study in contrasts.

The condensed version? The MTV debacle proved once and for all that Britney has lost it (though some would argue she never had it to begin with), while Beyonce's show left little doubt the buxom 26-year-old has got it goin' on -- even if parts of her big-budget spectacle favoured style over substance.

The statuesque Texan treated herself to an entrance befitting a goddess, rising from an opening in the stage amidst much fanfare, applause, and even a prolonged shower of sparks.

Seconds later, she was off -- stalking around in an ankle-length silver gown as the opening notes of her insanely infectious dance-floor anthem, Crazy In Love.

Beyonce's legs, of course, are almost as beloved as her powerhouse pipes, so we're not surprised she found time to tear the bottom half of her dress off -- revealing a much showier mini-version underneath -- before the song was even over. Actually, there wasn't a lot of room left for surprises.

The Beyonce "experience" is as tightly scripted as her film forays, right down to the tears that have fallen on cue during Flaws and All at each and every stop on the tour so far.

But unlike Britney, the lady can sing, whether nailing the eerie high notes on a snippet of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, tearing through a ballsy version of Freakum Dress.

Sadly, our deadline only allowed us to catch the first half of the show -- but even by the mid-point, it was clear Beyonce's got what it takes to leave the diva wannabes choking on her dust.

Now if only the same could be said for her opening acts.

U.K. songstress Katy Shotter did what she could with a truncated 10-minute set, but Jamaican sensation Sean Kingston -- the 17-year-old behind the annoyance known as Beautiful Girls -- couldn't even be bothered to sing along to his own biggest hit, opting instead to shout hype-man cliches over a canned backing track.

Come to think of it, he'd have made a perfect opener for Britney.


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