Everyone loves a feud, especially when no one will officially address it except, possibly, through their art.
The rumors of a Taylor Swift-Katy Perry feud have existed for a while, but bubbled to the surface when Taylor Swift released the “Bad Blood” video, causing a lot of speculation that the track was a revenge song about rival Katy Perry. The suspicions grew even more when it appeared that Perry registered a song entitled “1984,” perhaps a dig at Swift’s album 1989. (That was later debunked.) But what started this feud in the first place? Wouldn’t we rather believe Perry and Swift are allies instead of enemies?
Of course not. We want a blood bath! So, let’s go back to see exactly how this feud began.
It all started with dancers…
Back in the fall of 2013, three of the dancers on Swift’s Red Tour suddenly gave their 30-day notice; apparently, they hadn’t wanted to sign on for the whole Swift tour, but they needed work and were biding their time until Perry went on tour again. When Swift did the math, she fired the dancers right then and there and immediately felt betrayed by Perry.
While on the Red Tour, Swift added fuel to the accusatory fire that started when people noticed some similarities between Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” which was co-written by Fun.’s Jack Antonoff, who also regularly works with Swift. (He’s also Lena Dunham’s boyfriend, which will become relevant later.) During one performance, Swift invited Bareilles onstage to sing “Brave,” calling the song “so beautifully written” and “so original.”
The dancer kerfuffle was revealed about a year later in Swift’s September 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, in which she discussed 1989 and “Bad Blood” for the first time, saying that it was indeed about someone in the industry with whom she had a strained and then adversarial relationship:
“For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not,” she says. “She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'” Then last year, the other star crossed a line. “She did something so horrible,” Swift says. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”
And talking about it in Rolling Stone definitely won’t make it more awkward than it already is!
Shots were fired, and mere hours after the interview hit the internet, Perry fired right back on Twitter with her now infamous Mean Girls tweet:
A few months later, when Perry was doing press for her Super Bowl halftime show, the Queen of the Sharks did not shy away when the rift was brought up. She even confirmed that she was referring to Swift in her tweet, saying, “If somebody is trying to defame my character, you’re going to hear about it.” Perry then went on to viral infamy with her quirky, splendiferous, dancing-shark-infested extravaganza.
But were there secret digs at Swift in there that only the most insidery insiders would know about? Those high-waisted, polka-dot bikinis that Swift was frequently caught wearing showed up on Perry’s backup dancers. And while the whole world was talking about the questionable dance moves of the Left Shark, it was the Right Shark who might have been the chum in the water for Swift. The man in the shark suit was Scott Myrick, reportedly one of the dancers who left Swift’s tour for Perry’s. But Perry’s show was generally well-received. Even Swift was reported to have said that Missy Elliott had a great show…
Shade thrown right back. Advantage: Swift.
It might also be a good time to mention serial celebrity boyfriend John Mayer. In 2009, Swift dated and then, in typical Swift fashion, wrote a song (“Dear John”) about him. Nowadays, Mayer is dating – who else? – Katy Perry.
Just a week after the Super Bowl, at the 2015 Grammys, Perry was scheduled to perform, and Swift was a guest. Apparently, organizers of the event were told to keep Swift far, far away from Perry and Mayer, who were in on-again mode that night. Some reports of near-run-ins surfaced, but it looks like Swift was keeping busy healing old wounds with former rivals Kanye West and Diplo. Perry, in the mean time, wowed the audience with her “By the Grace of God” performance, with Swift seated in the front row.
Later that month, Swift did an interview for the Telegraph, which asked about the feud, but Swift deferred. In a way that completely acknowledged the feud:
“I’m not giving them anything to write about,” she says, smiling steelily. “I’m not walking up the street with boys, I’m not stumbling out of clubs drunk. But I’m never going to talk about her in my interview. It’s not going to happen.”
A real champion of subtlety, that Swift girl.
The dust seemed to settle after the Grammys, and then run-up as the “Bad Blood” video began. A preview poster was released with the tagline: “Band-Aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes.” Hmm. Wonder what that could be about.
Finally, the video. A Sin City/Sucker Punch/Kill Bill revenge fantasy featuring a cadre of celebrity cameos – including Lena Dunham – seems to hint at… no, it screams that Swift is really not interested in burying a hatchet with Katy Perry.
So, what now? Swift has been battling Apple, hanging out with Harry Potter types, and not getting ready for her own Super Bowl halftime show. Perry has been spotted with Mayer again and had her plans to buy a convent foiled. But it’s officially Perry’s move, if she can even be bothered to make one. Would she go out of her way the way Swift clearly did? Or is she too cool for this riff-raff?
This member of #TeamPerry says girl’s got better sh*t to do. You can keep your vague revenge fantasies, Tay-Tay.