It may be the worst kept secret in La-La Land: the identity of the "surprise celebrity superstar" tabbed for tree-lighting honors at the coming out celebration of the much anticipated "LA Live" entertainment complex across from Staples Center.
Three years into construction, the $2.5 billion dollar project is still far from complete. Its cineplex won't be ready before next year. And its still rising 54 story JW Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Hotel/Condo Tower won't plump any pillows till 2010. But enough of the music-themed complex is now open that developer AEG scheduled a holiday kick-off event for 7pm tonight in LA Live's Nokia Plaza.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will attend, So will USC football coach Pete Carroll and Grammy winner Natalie Cole, along with the "surprise celebrity superstar," according to LA Live's announcement. But though LA Live staffers will not officially identify the SCS in advance, they are making no effort to quash the flood of leaks intended to pique media interest. All of those leaks pointing to the pop siren who just celebrated her 27th birthday, the release of her new album "Circus," and the announcement of her new stadium concert tour starting next March.
When NBC Los Angeles ran her name past LA Live Managing Director Lisa Herzlich, she smiled broadly and chuckled, "I can't say that."
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But you can say it:: Britney Spears.
It's not hard to reconstruct the strategizing that led to LA Live's choice. In order to get maximum exposure for the kickoff, it wants a photographer and media magnet. Unlike say, a mayor or football coach, video of Britney lighting the tree will make it on all of the TV shows that cover show biz.. Not to mention the worldwide distribution of all those still photos of Britney with LA Live visible in the background.
And how better to promote Britney's 2009 Circus tour, which--conveniently enough--will be produced by AEG Live. Yes, the same AEG that is the developer of LA Live.
Picking Britney guarantees a two-fer!