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Opinion: Pop’s leading ladies show realness, some too much so

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This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.

The Stars Dance World Tour - Illinois

Pop singers Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Credit: Courtesy of TNS.

Super Bowl needs Katy Perry more than vice versa

It’s official: Katy Perry is set to perform the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show. Rumors about the pop star’s involvement have been swirling for months, and were confirmed during Sunday Night Football.

During the earlier stages of negotiations, the NFL not-so-subtly asked Perry to pay for the opportunity to play at the nation’s most famous sporting event, to which she politely responded, ”I’m not the kind of girl who would pay to play the Super Bowl.” 

(Rock on, KP)

It’s been months since the initial request was made by the NFL, and judging by the fact that Katy is indeed set to play the show, I can only assume that she will in fact NOT be paying for the ability to perform. I’m happy about that, but I still can’t get over the nerve of the NFL.

Asking Katy Perry to pay to perform is like asking her on a dinner date and expecting her to pick up the bill. It’s like inviting the president of the United States to your birthday party and asking him to bring the cake. It’s ridiculous and completely disrespectful. 

This is Katy freakin’ Perry. She doesn’t need the publicity. If she has to pay to perform, it’s a waste of her time.

But I haven’t always felt that sort of respect for the woman with the cupcake boobs.

For the longest time, I didn’t understand Katy Perry’s popularity. Her lyrics lack the relatable depth of Taylor Swift’s, and she’s missing the commanding stage presence of Beyoncé. She is neither particularly poignant nor eloquent in her speech, and she is one of the last superstars that I would label as “intelligent” (we’re talking about a girl who chose to dress up as a Cheeto for Halloween). For all intents and purposes, Katy Perry is a glorified regular person.

At least, that’s what I thought. 

People often criticize American pop culture. It is said that we have a habit of handing fame to anyone and everyone. All that’s required for fame is a pretty face. We give TV shows to people like the Kardashians — people with little in the departments of talent or measurable value. This is the category into which I lumped Katy Perry.

But then I read a tweet she penned moments after the announcement of her Super Bowl performance. The tweet reads:

“3 AMA’S & SUPER BOWL?! Not long ago I was playing guitar on the streets of Santa Barbara for maybe 20 bucks a day & an avocado. Wow, life!”

And that’s when it hit me. Katy Perry is an underdog. Stars like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are idolized, but they carry an air of unattainability. It makes sense that they are famous. But Katy? She’s somebody we can root for. She says and does the wrong things, and she often makes mistakes. Her interactions with her fans seem deeply human, and she makes a point to seem as though she is one of them.

Despite boasting the largest Twitter following of any human in existence, if weren’t for the blue check mark next to her name, you’d think her Twitter account was run by any other run-of-the-mill person.

And that’s where Perry’s talent lies. Not necessarily in her singing or songwriting ability, and certainly not in her intelligence (not to say that doesn’t have those things), but rather, Katy Perry’s biggest claim to fame is her ability to charm. It’s hard not to like Katy Perry. She’s aware of social media trends and lingo, she’s open about who she is and she’s just zany enough to capture a few headlines now and then.

What I’m saying is that Katy Perry, for whatever reason, is a superstar. And superstars don’t pay to play.

Miley goes deeper down the rabbit hole

Speaking of famous-for-no-reason megastars, let’s take a look at Miley Cyrus.

Imagine Tinker Bell and Big Bird had a baby. And then imagine that baby developed a drug addiction, suffered through several identity crises and spent the past three years living inside the stomach of Toucan Sam. That creature would look only half as ridiculous as Miley Cyrus did at her 22nd birthday party this past weekend.

Not only did the star sport a wacky pink and green ensemble, but she was also photographed crouching on the floor in preparation to scarf down a giant pizza-cake. Cyrus also brought in a mechanical bull — correction, a mechanical penis, for her party guests to ride.

Now, I said above that nobody gets famous without deserving it — and I stand by that. The American audience does not give attention unless attention is due. But Miley’s fame is not based in admiration, but rather, derision. People don’t watch Miley Cyrus because they relate to her. Nobody is admiring her artistic vision, nobody is touched by her lyrics and nobody is wishing they were her.

Her only true talents include performing unpredictable publicity stunts and imitating an elderly person choking on a breath mint (oh wait — that’s her actual voice).

If she’s OK with all that, props to her. Honestly, I hope she continues to ride hotdogs through the sky. I hope her leotards get smaller and smaller. I hope she spirals further and further out of control, and I hope that all of it gets caught on camera.

Of course, I’d love it even more if she grew her hair back out, brought back the cowboy boots and gave us the Hannah Montana reprise that we’re all still dying for.

Selena’s star not rising

Finally, let’s talk Selena Gomez.

The girl needs to choose: acting or singing. She’s too inexperienced to juggle the two at the same time, and her performances in both are falling flat. She’s yet to land an impressive role since her Disney Channel days, and let’s face it — her songs just aren’t that good (someone had to say it).

The girl needs a break. She needs time to refocus and find herself. I suggest she take a year off from fame, sell some Tupperware, pick up cross-stitching and maybe buy a hamster (she doesn’t seem like a “large pet” kind of person).

Oh, and the whole on-again-off-again with J. Biebs needs to go. We’re all sick of hearing about it, and the waterfall of tears at the AMAs was entirely too much. It might’ve made Taylor Swift cry, but it had a slightly different effect on me. An effect that involved a regurgitated dinner and an audible “Are you KIDDING me?”

Get yourself together, Selena.

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