Whether Katy Perry meant to or not, she has managed to suck all of the juice out of her beef with Taylor Swift . Or Taylor Swift’s beef with her. (Well, the chicken vs. egg debate might endure.)
After almost three years of subtweeting, Perry is all of a sudden on a tear when it comes to naming names and trying to explain what happened—which in her eyes will always be that a few of her dancers went to work for Swift, left an option in their contract to return to Perry once she went back on tour, and did exactly that.
Yes, the triggering incident in this case was always that boring.
While the dancers’ exodus had made their own, smaller headlines beforehand, it was Perry’s tweet—”Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing”—right after Swift’s RS interview came out that cranked their situation up to full-blown feud mode.
Swift pointed out a year later to GQ, after “Bad Blood” had won Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards and squad power was at an all-time high: “I never said anything that would point a finger in the specific direction of one specific person, and I can sleep at night knowing that. I knew the song would be assigned to a person, and the easiest mark was someone who I didn’t want to be labeled with this song. It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship.”
Well, even if Swift somehow thought that she could simply pour her feelings into “Bad Blood” and call it a day, the Taylor vs. Katy narrative—though never on the record as a she-said, she-said certainty—persisted.
Perry indulged in the occasional subtweet, then stoked the fire a little more directly last September (two years after Swift’s theory-confirming or theory-spinning RS interview) when a fan asked on Twitter if she’d ever collaborate with the 1989 artist and she replied, “… if she says sorry, sure!”
Though it really wasn’t “they.” After Swift’s 1989 World Tour ended, she immediately became consumed with other pursuits, including other dramas, and has barely said a public word about anything for a year.
So call it anticlimactic when Perry dropped “Swish Swish” last month. Catchy, yes, but while it would have been nothing but net two years ago, it’s a bit of an air ball now. Made all the airier, ironically, by the fact that Perry all of a sudden can’t stop talking about Swift.
“There’s a situation,” Perry said. “Honestly, it’s really like she started it, and it’s time for her to finish it.” And she didn’t stop there.
“I tried to talk to her about it and she wouldn’t speak to me,” she continued, turning Corden into the Charlie Rose of pop star confessionals. Not explicitly confirming that she called Taylor, Katy added, “I do the right thing any time that it feels like a fumble. It was a full shutdown and then she writes a song about me, and I’m like, ‘OK, cool, cool, cool, that’s how you want to deal with it? Karma!'”
Wow! So much information all at once!
But once again, she didn’t stop there.
Two days after the Corden segment aired, she told SiriusXm’s Morning Mashup that she would “absolutely” take a call from Taylor. “I am ready because I think when women unite, the world is going to heal.” She added a bit later, “I don’t have any beef really with anyone. I love everyone, and honestly, I love everyone and I think we need to unite more than ever.
Then, talking to NME, Perry basically said she couldn’t stay quiet any longer. (Though it’s unclear if anything aside from Swift’s prolonged silence—on top of the perceived unjust treatment—irked her more recently.)
We understand that she needed to promote Witness, but perhaps “Swish Swish’s” commercial performance—so far it’s peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart—should have been a sign as to how interested people were in the unabridged version of “…if she says sorry, sure.”
Meanwhile, it doesn’t sound like that apology will be forthcoming. At the stroke of midnight on June 9, as Witness was dropping, Swift released her entire catalog back into the streaming world after withholding it from every service besides Apple Music.
Determined to be the bigger—or at least the more talkative—person, however, Perry kept going. (Not that it’s entirely of her own doing—interviewers do keep asking. Yet on the flip side, there are ways for celebs to avoid such talking points ahead of time.)
So that was the passive aggressive apology tactic, in which she reiterated that Swift wronged her as well.
“I love her, and I want the best for her,” Perry added. “And I think she’s a fantastic songwriter, and I think that, you know, if we, both her and I, can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, ‘Yeah, well we can do this.'”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Like, maybe I don’t agree with everything she does and she doesn’t agree with everything I do, but I just really truly want to come together in a place of love and forgiveness and understanding and compassion.”
But that wasn’t it, either!
All we know is that Katy Perry—who’s interesting enough on her own—didn’t need to go on about any of this. It’s pretty apparent that she continues to feel that she was wrongly maligned by Taylor Swift, but Katy can’t play both parts. Swift hasn’t apologized for anything, and Perry forgiving her in absentia and putting words in Taylor’s mouth doesn’t shed any more light on the root of these issues. Issues that Swift hasn’t felt compelled to comment on—with words, anyway—in two years.
Perhaps Katy intended all along to explain her side to within an inch of its life and bury this beef for good. In which case, well done.
But either way, the best revenge at this point would be never letting Taylor get another headline out of her again.