Postmortem: Rihanna’s Crazy Mess of a Tour

Rihanna 777 TourSince we feel like covering the indulgent lifestyles of pop stars today, we’d like to offer a postmortem assessment of Rihanna’s recent PR disaster disguised as a whirlwind international tour.

See, the very concept behind this extended promo event demanded the “stunt” label: The pop star planned to play seven countries in seven days, and she invited approximately 150 music journalists to join her on her Boeing 777 mega-jet (we don’t really get the “7” theme).

Anyway, chaos quickly descended upon the unfortunate entourage. These journalists relayed news of on-plane streaking, hunger, sleep deprivation, lack of bathroom access and general anxiety while receiving very little attention from an apparently disinterested Rihanna. The star’s heart just didn’t seem to be in it: She received boos from fans in Berlin after forgetting the lyrics to her own songs and denied all interview requests during the trip as some journalists began to wonder whether she was on the plane at all.

On first glance, this all looks to be something of a PR disaster. On second glance, it looks even worse.

Related reports filled the big music blogs over the past two weeks, but we’ve yet to catch anyone discussing the fact that Rihanna has a new album to promote–and that was the whole point of this undertaking. The star’s handlers obviously noticed the disaster that had already bubbled over, because she finally issued an official (half-assed) apology to everyone involved last week.

If Rihanna had been any other singer, the press would have ripped her limb from limb by this point–but we can’t see the unflattering news doing too much damage to her career. She is unquestionably the most successful pop star of the past few years with nine #1 singles, and at this point her success doesn’t depend too much on public opinion (she’s even inspired people to defend Chris Brown). But her recent joke of a tour does provide a great example of what not to do for pop stars who aren’t famous enough to get away with such insanity (aka all of them).

A couple of questions: Why did Rihanna’s team mistake this junket for a good idea? Could anyone else in the entertainment world emerge from such a poorly planned debacle unscathed?