#PERRYBOWL: Expectations vs. Reality

Katy Perry went to the Superbowl – arguably one of the most difficult and demanding shows an artist will never put on in their lifetime because so few reach the level of stardom required to take the stage – and by all accounts, she slaughtered it. There hasn’t been such a wave of universal Katy Perry approval in… well, there’s never been such a wave of universal Katy Perry approval. Even ‘Teenage Dream’ had to live a little before everyone started to agree that it was the greatest modern pop song of our times. Anyway.

A while ago, I made a list of expectations and demands of Katheryn Elizabeth, and as I watched her triumphant 12 minutes this morning I realised that she pretty much, in one way or another, matched the large majority of them. Here’s how my expectations matched reality.


Expectation: “I’m basing this on my proposed setlist, so hold with me when I say ELEPHANTS… She rides in, on an elephant, accompanied by a menagerie of other dangerous wild animals.”

katy perry superbowl
Well, she did enter on top of a giant animal, but it was not an elephant. It was a lion. A magnificent, 3D, puppet lion. She looked like a goddamn Queen. As entrances go, this one was pretty spectacular.


Expectation: “I want it to light up, move, set on fire, ascend and descend on a musical cue, detach and fly around the arena using battery power from a sustainable energy source and fold up at the end of the night into a bag that I could take on a plane as carry on luggage. Also there should be a shark tank in the middle.”

Reality: The stage was interactive as fuck. The ‘Dark Horse’ sequence was especially impressive, as the stage appeared to tilt, crumble and reform in front of our very eyes. No shark tank, but…

C’mon. I called it.


Expectation: “For the Superbowl I want to see a cohesive theme holding everything together… The #PERRYBOWL needs to look and sound like a megamix.”

Reality: Well… there wasn’t really a theme. Unless the theme was “Katy Perry”. And in that respect it delivered. The show was very Katy – kitschy, camp, slightly trashy in parts. Also it seems that my plea to avoid any obvious signifiers (cats, no more fucking cats) went heeded by the universe. The medley wasn’t exactly the megamix I was hoping for though, there were some very flat transitions. Still, it was a visual extravaganza, and maybe that’s all you should ask for.


Expectation: “Ridiculous, overblown, interactive, outrageous, fine, fresh and fierce as a given. ”

Reality: Compared to some of her tour costumes, Katy’s outfits were almost tame. The opening costume needed more sparkle, in my opinion, but the ‘California Gurls’ beachwear was so “on-brand” (Katy’s boobs, they’re like BEACHBALLS LOL) and I loved her sports-luxe jersey dress… thing. I’m really not qualified to speak on this, I’m wearing Buffalos like it’s still 1996, right now. Overall I think the fashion was great, but I was missing a ‘Peacock’ moment.


Expectation: “‘Roar’; ‘Hot N Cold’ / ‘I Kissed A Girl’ / ‘Waking Up In Vegas’ medley; ‘Teenage Dream’; ‘California Gurls’; ‘Part Of Me’; ‘E.T.’ ft. Kanye West; ‘Walking On Air’; ‘Firework”

Reality: ‘Roar’, ‘Dark Horse’, ‘I Kissed A Girl’, ‘Teenage Dream’, ‘California Gurls’, ‘Firework’. Apart from ‘Dark Horse’ which I missed more out of hope she wouldn’t perform it, rather than any notion she actually wouldn’t, I had it down even to the sequencing. It’s a shame she didn’t have more time to perform really, as she maybe could have squeezed in ‘Part Of Me’ and ‘E.T.’ Oh wait, what’s that? She did have more time but she sacrificed it for a wildly pointless featured performance? More on that later…


Expectation: “she should basically recreate yet another iconic Britney moment by making out with Madonna and then Kesha… She should then flash one of her tits and flip the middle finger as Janet Jackson and M.I.A.’s faces beam out on massive screens behind her…”

Reality: There was no controversy. Not even a little bit. Unless you count the pre-show “did she pay to play?” nontroversy. Even the mere ripple of disapproval that might have been generated from performing ‘I Kissed A Girl’ was nullified by the presence of Lenny Kravitz. “Kissing girls? That’s only okay when MEN do it!”


Expectation: “Kanye West on ‘E.T.’, obviously… Skeet & Markus… Ferras and Kacey Musgraves… I’d quite like her Grandma to be involved too… Madonna and Kesha as mentioned. Oh, and Rihanna and Nicki…”

katy perry missy elliott superbowl

Reality: None of these people were involved (although I’m sure Skeet & Markus were there, if not on stage). Instead we got the aforementioned Lenny Kravitz (so hot, but why?) and the incredible Missy Elliott, whom I love but needed to get off stage approximately 3 minutes earlier than she actually did. The collaborations were strange, admittedly. And I think I’ll be forever pissed off that Missy cut so much into Katy’s time, if only because it underlined the fact that Missy could probably have done a halftime show of her very own. She didn’t even do the ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ verse she tacked on to the remix. She didn’t even do the verse from ‘Whatcha Think About That’ which actually references Katy Perry. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about Missy. It just felt redundant to me. But whatever. She’s fantastic.


Expectation: I’m not saying jetpacks but… yes, I am. I’m saying jetpacks. ‘Firework’, fireworks and jetpacks. Sensational.

Reality: That looks a lot like a jetpack of some description to me.

katy perry firework superbowl

So, am I a psychic? Does Katy read my blog? Is she just predictable? Like, whatever the reason, I was thoroughly impressed with her performance. I know y’all love to hate her, but let’s not pretend she isn’t the popstar who has the most fun out there. Her face said it all yesterday: she’s on top of her game and loving it. Well done, KP.


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