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Music / Katy Perry

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My Pop Star, 'Tis of Thee
"I'm kind of a good girl - and I'm not. I'm a good girl because I really believe in love, integrity, and respect. I'm a bad girl because I like to tease. I know that I have sex appeal in my deck of cards. But I like to get people thinking. That's what the stories in my music do."

Katy Perry (born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson on October 25, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California) is an American singer, songwriter and television personality.

Perry was born as the second child to Christian pastor parents Keith Hudson and Mary Hudson (née Perry). Along with her older sister and younger brother, she was raised in a deeply religious family and grew up listening to only gospel music. As a result, her first experience of performing was singing in church, and thus a passion for music grew.

At the age of 15, Perry began visiting Nashville, gaining experience in recording demos and songwriting. She then signed onto the Christian record label Red Hill, and released her debut album, a Christian pop album under her birth name, in 2001 at 16. It was commercially unsuccessful.

Perry then moved to Los Angeles, collaborating with producer Glen Ballard; however, she was unable to secure a lasting record deal. She later signed to Columbia Records in 2004, but was dropped. However, an executive at Columbia recommended her to Jason Flom, Virgin Records’ chairman, resulting in her singing for Capitol Music Group and signing with their Capitol Records label in 2007. (Oh, and did we mention that she was also a background vocalist for "Goodbye for Now" with P.O.D.?)

Her first release as Katy Perry, the Ur So Gay EP, came out around half a year after her signing to Capitol to generate interest in her. The first official Katy Perry album, One of the Boys, was released in 2008 to commercial success, boosted by smash hit singles including "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold". Her second album, Teenage Dream, was released in 2010 to further success, becoming the second album in history to have five #1 singles (after Michael Jackson's Bad). Her 2013 album Prism continued the trend, spawning the #1 hits "Roar" and "Dark Horse", but her following albums — 2017's Witness and 2020's Smiledivided critics.

In 2015, Perry performed at the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show along with special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott; the show garnered 118.5 million viewers in America, becoming the most-watched and highest-rated halftime show in the history of the Super Bowl. In 2017, she was named as one of three judges for the 2018 ABC revival of American Idol, with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

Perry is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with 143 million records sold worldwide. She also has four singles certified Diamond in the U.S., the most of any female artist in history. Outside of music, she released a documentary feature film titled Katy Perry: Part of Me in 2012 and voiced Smurfette in The Smurfs film series.

As noted by certain people, Perry looks like Bettie Page and Zooey Deschanel. Perry herself has declared that she'd like to make a movie where she and Deschanel play Creepy Twins, and later cast her in the video for "Not the End of the World" on the basis of this resemblance. Oh, she also used to own a cat named Kitty Purry who had its own blog. Yes, really.

She married English comedian Russell Brand in 2010, but they divorced in early 2012. She is currently engaged to English actor Orlando Bloom, and they have a daughter together.


Music videos with their own pages:

Notable roles:

I used these tropes and I liked them; the taste of their cherry Chap-Stick!

  • Accidental Pun: A line from "I'm Still Breathing":
    Already lost our grip, best Abandon Ship, oh
    • The song could be about an insecure girl who's either attempting suicide or "killing off" her relationship and doesn't hope for the guy to remember her for fear of guilt.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: "UnCONdiTIONally".
  • Actor Allusion: In "Smile", she sings "Now I got a smile like Lionel Richie", and since Season 16 of American Idol, she has been a judge alongside Lionel Richie.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In-universe, in "Last Friday Night".
    Yeah I think we broke the law/Always say we're gonna stop-op/Whoa-oh-oah/This Friday night/Do it all again.
  • Album Closure:
    • After a whole album of uproarious Ode to Youth and teen romance songs, Teenage Dream ends with the somber "Not Like the Movies," which deconstructs such idealistic notions of storybook romance.
    • Prism concludes with "By the Grace of God," Perry's most explicitly religious song since her Christian Rock days.
  • Alcohol-Induced Bisexuality: Implied by the lyrics of the song "I Kissed a Girl".
    I got so brave, drink in hand Lost my discretion.
  • Alien Abduction: In the music video for "Not the End of the World", an alien race is obsessed with Katy, and they want to take her from Earth because it's about to self-destruct. However, they mistakenly abduct Zooey Deschanel instead.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Played with in "Roar". At the end of the video, Katy wakes up back in her airplane seat, but it turns out she's turned the wrecked plane into her shelter on the island.
    • The end of the music video for ''Hot-N-Cold reveals that everything but the first twenty seconds or so was just an Imagine Spot by The groom, before he does in fact say I do.
  • Alternate Music Video: "Thinking Of You" has two versions. The official one with the World War II theme where her first lover is killed in action and she unsatisfyingly settles with another man, and the other one where she claims it was "made by a friend" and was not meant to be released commercially. The video cross-cuts between a (later bloodstained) white room and a black room with two different men.
  • Anachronism Stew: As mentioned below, the "Dark Horse" music video is set in Ancient Egypt, albeit an Ancient Egypt with Nike sneakers, Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and pole dancing.
  • Ancient Egypt: The setting for the "Dark Horse" music video, featuring Katy as a Cleopatra-like pharaoh.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: The twist endings in "Pearl" and the "Wide Awake" music video
  • Angelic Aliens: The music video for Katy Perry's E.T. depicts several Space Angels, particularly the Kaminoan-like alien in flowing robes floating in space. The lyrics speculate on whether the alien lover whom the song is about is an angel (or a devil).
  • Animal Motifs: The lyric and official music videos for "Chained to the Rhythm" both feature hamsters as a motif. The lyric video depicts a pair of hands making tiny food for a hamster inside a miniature house, as it watches another hamster using an exercise wheel on TV. The music video proper has one as the mascot for Oblivia, which features a human-sized exercise wheel as one of its attractions. The intent is to compare people's tendency to ignore things around them and do the same repetitive things to a hamster using a wheel: doing nothing productive and going nowhere.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Many of Katy’s performances include these
    • Giant singing beach balls, surfboards, and palm trees helped Katy sing “Teenage Dream” during her Super Bowl halftime show.
    • The entire set of her Play residency in Las Vegas is made up of scaled up living home appliances. These include a singing armchair, bed, toilet, rubber duckies, and of course a living turd.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: There are a couple of instances where her lyrics don't mean what she thinks they mean. In "Dark Horse", the title is used to indicate someone who's dangerous and can attack unexpected, when it's supposed to refer to something or someone who shows unexpected proficiency or popularity.
  • Artistic License – Space: Unless she is singing about Space Ghost in "E.T.," the words "extraterrestrial" and "supernatural" don't really have anything to do with each other.
  • Ascended Extra: The Kathy Beth Terry character first appeared at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, which Katy hosted.
  • Ascended Meme: People had been joking for years that Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel looked similar, particularly due to Katy becoming famous while wearing black hair with bangs like Deschanel did. In 2020, Katy's music video for "Not the End of the World" features aliens looking for Katy and abducting Zooey by mistake.
  • Auto Erotica: Mentioned in "The One that Got Away":
    Summer after high school when we first met/We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead...
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Katy Perry had a sizable lesbian fan base after the release of "I Kissed a Girl" until they actually listened to the lyrics and realized that the song was about a heterosexual girl's drunken experiments. And, for the more usual use of the trope... in the music video, she never does.
  • Beautiful All Along: The main premise of the music video for "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".
  • Beer Goggles: Referenced in "This is How We Do".
    This goes out to all you people going to bed with a ten and waking up with a two
  • Be Yourself: The theme for most of her songs, with "Firework" being the most blatant call for the listener to be like this.
  • Betty and Veronica: The nerdy boy (the Betty) against the hot jock Steve (the Veronica) for Kathy Beth Terry (the Archie) in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".
  • Big-Breast Pride: She is very proud of them and the Fanservice in her videos and concerts is deliberate and intentional.
    "I lay on my back one night and looked down at my feet, and I prayed to God. I said, 'God, will you please let me have boobs so big that I can't see my feet when I'm lying down?'"

    "Katy Perry said as a kid she prayed that she would have 'big boobs.' So finally, we have proof that God exists." —Conan O'Brien
  • Boldly Coming: Katy might have said that "E.T." is actually about "falling in love with a foreigner", but Kanye's guest verses take it very literal ("Tell me what's next, alien sex!").
  • Boob-Based Gag: Where to start? In her various videos, her breasts have shot out fireworks, whipped cream and glitter. She's worn bras made out of candy, dice, poke-balls, and practically everything imaginable. They're practically comedy props by now. And her guest shot on SNL when the Elmo T-shirt she wore had some Really Big Eyes.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Katy wears them as Kathy Beth Terry in the music video for "Last Friday Night".
  • Break-Up Song: The self-explanatory "The One That Got Away", and "Part of Me" are the best-known (the former a lament of lost love, the latter a post-breakup affirmation), and there's also "Ghost" and "Not Like The Movies".
  • The Cameo:
  • Camp Straight: The subject of "Ur So Gay".
  • Canon Discontinuity, Retool: How many people actually knew of Katy's first album? It seems to have slipped under the radar of even Christian pop fans.
  • Cassandra Truth: Kathy Beth Terry to her parents about the wrecked house after the party: "It wasn't me, it was Rebecca!".
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • A sizable amount in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)".
      • Katy Perry as Kathy Beth Terry
      • Darren Criss as Aaron Christopherson
      • Rebecca Black as herself
      • Kevin McHale as Everett McDonald
      • Isaac, Taylor, & Zac Hanson as Hanson
      • Kenny G as Uncle Kenny
      • Corey Feldman as Kirk Terry
      • Debbie Gibson as Tiffany Terry
  • Christian Pop: Her first album.
    • Her secular albums also include Christian-influenced songs. "One of the Boys" has "Lost", and "Teenage Dream" has "Who Am I Living For". In particular, some songs from Prism could fall into this, such as "By the Grace of God", "Spiritual", and "Unconditionally".
  • Cleavage Window: At the Grammys.
  • Coming of Age Story: "Wide Awake", which was inspired by major changes in her life.
    Katy: This song, in particular, is a dose of reality. It's kind of like coming down from a high. You’ve been on cloud nine for so long, and it can't always be so sweet and sometimes you need to realize that, and you have to pick yourself up and move forward and face the facts of life and know that this is just a lesson you learn and you're stronger because of it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Her music video for "Wide Awake" starts off at the end to "California Gurls". After the music video ends, she goes on stage at a concert to perform "Teenage Dream". Other less obvious ones includes : the strawberry about One Of The Boys (the album)/the Hello Katy Tour and various nods at the videos for "Last Friday Night", "Part Of Me", "E.T" and most obviously "Firework".
    • The video for "This Is How We Do" features a scene where Katy has a Watermelon (Hot N Cold CD single), heart-shaped glasses (Teenage Dream era), and a Pizza dress (referencing the pizza, It Makes Sense in Context, from the Prismatic World Tour).
  • Costume Porn:
    • Her California Dreams tour was a showcase for an array of crazy/cartoonish/candy-themed costumes.
    • The video for "Unconditionally", being inspired by Anna Karenina.
  • Covered in Gunge: She got slimed at the 2010 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, notoriously getting a faceful of the stuff.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Oblivia, the amusement park seen in "Chained To The Rhythm", looks bright and colorful. It even has a hamster motif! But, if you look closely, its true nature as an Amusement Park of Doom becomes clear. In fact, many of the attractions are meant to be a social commentary on various issues, such as heteronormativity, the effect of social media, nuclear warfare, the oil crisis, and long line waits for her. Then there's how you get out of Oblivia: you get into a catapult and are thrown over the fence.
  • Darker and Edgier: "Circle the Drain" sounds much darker than her typical upbeat pop music. Also, "E.T" could fall under this.
    • Perry herself said that Prism would be this. The album later had a happier direction, but still, most of the second half of the album (such as "Ghost", "Spiritual" and "By the Grace of God") sound much darker (and at times even sadder) than your average Katy Perry song.
    • Contrary to popular belief, "One of the Boys" is not all upbeat pop songs, and includes a lot of serious, dark, or sad songs, such as "Lost" and "I'm Still Breathing". Even "Teenage Dream" has serious songs, such as "Who Am I Living For".
    • Though it doesn't sound like it, "Chained to the Rhythm" is probably her darkest song to date, since it deals with people being distracted by shallow entertainment, overlooking problems that actually exist. The music video also contains jabs at numerous real-life political and social issues, such as heteronormativity, gender pay gap, and the world's dependence on the oil industry.
  • Dedication: International Smile for Mia Moretti, her muse.
  • The Ditherer: The Love Interest in "Hot n Cold."
    You change your mind
    Like a girl changes clothes
    'Cause you're hot then you're cold
    You're yes then you're no
    (You) You don't really want to stay, no
    (You) But you don't really want to go-o
  • Descent into Addiction: The song "Dance With The Devil" deals with her experiences with alcohol and struggling to cope with said addiction.
  • Destructo-Nookie: In "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", Kathy Beth Terry's room is quite a wreck from the party. Among other things.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Many of the attractions in "Chained to the Rhythm" are a clear commentary on American political and social issues. As an example, the roller coaster called "Love Me" manages to satirize heteronormativity, people's tendency to look to social media for validation, and the wage gap in one fell swoop.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: "Dark Horse", where Katy warns a mortal man not to fall in love with her because she is a witch and if he should, she's to be his last and only lover.
  • Double Entendre:
    • "Birthday", the whole thing. Let's just say the song isn't really about celebrating one's birthday party...
    • There's an innocent example in "Dark Horse", where "falling for" refers both to being tricked and falling in love.
    • In "I Kissed A Girl" Perry sings about drunk kissing a girl and liking it, "the taste of her cherry chapstick". Only she wasn't referring to the actual chapstick or the lips on another woman's face in particular.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: She came under fire for an incident on American Idol where she forced a male contestant to kiss her. It later came out that he had been okay with it, but the editing had left those parts out - still playing the double standard straight from a storytelling perspective.
    • In "Last Friday Night", her alter ego Kathy Beth Terry is seen stroking the abdomen of an unconscious jock and then later peeking into his underwear to check out his package after waking up in bed next to him. Technically, this is considered sexual assault as sleep negates consent.
  • Dream Sequence: "Wide Awake". The whole dream fantasy music video starts off with Perry daydreaming about finding herself through another world just before her next concert.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Dance With The Devil" details Katy's struggle with depression and alcohol and how drinking messes with her creativity, making it harder each day for her to bounce back to normal.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Circle the Drain," which deals with breaking up with a drug-addicted lover.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Kathy Beth Terry, her nerdy alter-ego from "Last Friday Night", first appeared at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.
    • Prior to "I Kissed A Girl" breaking her into the mainstream, Katy herself is seen as the Last Girl Wins in the music video for Gym Class Heroes' "Cupid's Chokehold".
    • Also, she was in the music video for P.O.D.'s "Goodbye for Now".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: That Christian pop album.
    • "Ur So Gay" sounds more like a Lily Allen song than any of the rest of Katy's output. YouTube seems to think so too, as the page for any upload of the video recommends a bunch of Lily's songs, and maybe one or two of Katy's.
  • Edible Theme Clothing: "California Gurls" has her and the human denizens of Candyfornia wearing candy-themed clothing, such as bras designed like cupcakes, peppermints, and whipped cream bottles worn by Katy at the end of the music video.
  • Epic Fail: She mentions this trope by name in "Last Friday Night".
  • Erotic Eating: In "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", Kathy Beth Terry suggestively eats a banana for breakfast the morning after the wild 80's party.
  • Extinct in the Future: Pigeons have gone extinct in the futuristic world of "E.T.".
  • Fan Disservice: The music video for "Bon Appetit" features Katy wearing a beige leotard while getting massaged, covered with food in a way similar to Body Sushi, lounging in a hot-tub like setting, and pole-dancing. However, in context? She's actually being prepared for consumption. Not to mention all the Body Horror that comes with Katy being food, such as her skin behaving like bread dough when kneaded.
  • Flipping the Bird: In the "California Gurls" music video, a gummi bear gives Katy the finger (though it's censored).
  • Forbidden Fruit: In "I Kissed a Girl":
    It felt so wrong. It felt so right."
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Rebecca Black in the Last Friday Night series of promotional videos. She and Kathy Beth Terry reconcile in the actual music video.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She becomes one after she ends up in a jungle in the music video for "Roar"; an elephant gives her a shower with its trunk, she brushes the teeth of a crocodile and tames a tiger and makes it her pet.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Many of her videos feature some. "California Gurls" has a sign edited to say Sundae Boulevard instead of Sunset.
    • During the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLIX, during the performance of her song “Teenage Dream”, one of the backup dancers dressed as a shark and dancing to the left side of the singer was seen screwing up a routine while on stage. Shortly after the conclusion of the halftime show, the awkwardly dancing “left shark” quickly emerged as a trending topic on Twitter and elsewhere.
  • Genre Roulette:
    • Her first album was pop-rock oriented, even going so far as to include a "Rock Mix" of "I Kissed A Girl" as a bonus track.
    • Teenage Dream was more oriented towards edited genres, such as synthpop, disco, and dance.
    • Prism really was a Genre Roulette, having everything from trap to electropop to more dance.
    • Meanwhile, it seems she's moving towards house music on Witness.
  • Giant Woman: Played one in a mascara commercial where she stomps around a city and scoops up a guy.
  • Girliness Upgrade: The focus of "One of the Boys" (the song), which is about a Tomboy becoming a Girly Girl as she enters puberty, no longer wanting to be "One of the Boys."
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: There's a reason that "I Kissed a Girl" was number one for 8 weeks.
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Wide Awake" is a positive take on this. Katy herself says that the song was inspired by major changes in her life. To hammer the message further, the music video features Katy meeting her child self and then they both go through lots of obstacles (in a Call-Back to both their life and career, even) ending with them hugging and parting ways while Katy watches as her child version goes away.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: "This is How We Do" and "Last Friday Night".
  • Hidden Depths: When she was invited to be the celebrity guest star on ESPN's College GameDay in 2014, most college football fans were predicting a disaster. College Football is serious business in the Southeast, so bringing in a lifelong Californian to the Alabama-Mississippi game was likely going to be a horrible idea, and the only redeeming factor would be that she'd at least provide Fanservice. Wrong on all accounts. She came out dressed in what was popularly referred to as "shag carpeting", a hideous hot pink-and-black sweater that effectively hid her famously ample bust, and actually made surprisingly good picks, and she knew the proper cheer for the requisite home team pick. All reports said that she stuck around for the game itself, where said obligatory home team pick turned out to be the right one as well, a rather shocking upset.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: In "I Kissed A Girl", Perry is out drinking, presumably with some female friends of hers. We know that she has a boyfriend, so it's assumed that she views herself as predominantly heterosexual, however, a wrench is thrown into her self-perception.
  • Hollywood Old: In "The One That Got Away" video.
  • Hot Witch: Word of God is that "Dark Horse" is inspired by the idea of a witch warning a man not to fall for her. Naturally, her performance of it for the 2014 Grammys went with this to the point of having pole dances on broomsticks.
  • Human Aliens: In the appropriately named "E.T."
  • Hypocritical Humor: The first song she released, "Ur So Gay", emasculates a man for acting stereotypically gay. She followed it up with "I Kissed A Girl", a song about lesbian experimentation.
  • The Illuminati: Discussed. Dear sweet goodness, there were so many accusations of her affiliation with the Illuminati after her video for "Dark Horse" and it got even worse with her live performance at the Grammys. The biggest argument toward the connection was the ignorance about the Eye of Horus symbol and pyramid imagery, which are both perfectly legitimate icons of Ancient Egypt.
  • Important Haircut: In the Part of Me video, after she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend, she cuts her hair short and joins the Marines. Same with the music video for "Bon Appetit", though in this case, Perry did cut her hair short before the music video began filming and wore a long-haired wig for the first half of the music video. And in real life, the aforementioned haircut was done because she wanted to feel like Katheryn Hudson again.
  • Intercourse with You: "Dressin' Up", "Teenage Dream", "Birthday", "Legendary Lovers", "Hummingbird Heartbeat", "E.T.", "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" (though not all about it).
  • Jungle Princess: She becomes one in the music video for "Roar".
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Katy is constantly changing her hair color. It's gone from blond (her natural hair color) to black to red to blond to pink to blue to purple, back to black and now green after a brief orange and black phase. That's not counting purple, pink, blue, and now orange wigs.
  • Karma Houdini: Rebecca Black in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" suffers no repercussions for her wild 80's teen party or having Kathy Beth Terry taking all the fall for it when her parents ask the next morning.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The main premise of "Wide Awake" is that even though Growing Up Sucks, you must not let life's obstacles completely change or/and take away your positive outlook in life.
  • Laugh of Love: She's frequently laughing around her love interest in the video for "Teenage Dream".
  • Level Ate: The "California Gurls" video.
  • Loudness War: Her albums have an average dynamic range of 5 DB. That's louder than Megadeth.
  • Love Is Like Religion:
    • "Legendary Lovers" makes nods to various religious traditions, mentioning Karma and the third eye and telling her lover, "Say My Name like a scripture / Keep my heart beating like a drum".
    • "Spiritual" is this trope in the purest form.
      Lay me down at your altar, baby
      I'm a slave to this love
      Your electric lips have got me speaking in tongues
      I have prayed for power like you
  • Lyric Swap:
    • When performing "Part Of Me", she sings 'You let me drown' instead of 'you let me down'.
    • The line 'We drove to Cali' in "Teenage Dream" changes according to where she performs.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Chained to the Rhythm" has an upbeat tone, but it's a protest song that criticizes modern society's dependence on entertainment and their tendency to overlook world problems. It is as if Katy deliberately created the song to be cheerful to drive the point home.
  • Madness Mantra: In the music video, "I'm wide awake" is one of denial.
  • Makeover Montage: In "Last Friday Night", as she starts the video as a nerd, complete with braces.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Her Victoria's Secret performance featured a LOT of cleavage shots.
    • The bra she wears in the climax of the "Roar" video.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Wide Awake" refers to a lot of "Teenage Dream"'s lines in a depressing way but not verbatim. "You make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream" vs "Everything you see/Ain't always what it seems/I'm wide awake/yeah I was dreaming for so long" and "My missing puzzle piece/I'm complete" vs "I picked up every piece", "need nothing to complete myself".
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In "Wide Awake", the mirror scene. Katy leads the girl to the mirror, but the girl isn't shown there. In the mirrors, paparazzi are shown, but they aren't actually there. This is obviously symbolic of the constant pressure of the media, and the girl not appearing likely means that (since it's actually her younger self) that some people can't see pieces of yourself.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • On the Teenage Dream album, "Firework" is immediately followed by "Peacock", which itself is followed by "Circle the Drain".
    • On Prism, "International Smile" is followed by "Ghost".
  • The Movie: Katy Perry: Part of Me
  • Music for Courage: Nicki Minaj's rap in the music video for "Swish Swish" inspires Perry's basketball team to get its act together.
  • Music Video Overshadowing: For "California Gurls" and "Dark Horse". The latter has received much criticism for the bizarre video choice. Notably, the song namedrops Aphrodite, but the video is clearly Ancient Egypt-based.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Invoked in "Teenage Dream":
      'I'mma get your heart racing in my skintight jeans'
    • Blatantly embraced. She's done videos completely naked except for strategically placed cotton candy, running around a jungle in a skimpy leopard-skin bra with a grass skirt, had her boobs shoot whip cream and fireworks... she is Ms Fanservice full stop.
  • My Future Self and Me: Inverted in the "Wide Awake" music video, where Katy meets her past self.
  • Mythology Gag: The hamster made popular by the lyric video for "Chained to the Rhythm" appears as the mascot of the theme park in the official live-action video.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: In the video for "Last Friday Night," she plays a nerd who gets a makeover. However even post-makeover, she retains her braces and her nerdy mannerisms, resulting in this trope.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Although they come close, "Hot n Cold" (the chorus begins with "you're hot and you're cold") and "E.T." (the chorus ends with "extraterrestrial", what E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is).
  • Nice Girl: Pretty much everyone who meets her says she's really nice.
  • Noodle Incident: Many took place in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)" due to Perry's character being under the influence and having a wild party.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There are no kisses between girls in the video for "I Kissed A Girl"
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "E.T.", though a mild case. It has the lyrics "Wanna be your victim; Ready for abduction", and the Kanye remix has him boast about being dirty and filthy, but the song as a whole does not focus on the bondage aspect.
  • Ode to Youth: "The One That Got Away" is a recalling of first loves, and how sadly they can go nowhere.
  • One of the Boys: The name of her debut (pop) album and its title track. The song is about a tomboy becoming a girly girl as she enters puberty and no longer wants to be "one of the boys".
  • The One That Got Away: Has a song by this name about this in which she laments about a former lover. This is her only song from Teenage Dream not to go to #1, making it the #1 that got away.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: "Wide Awake" blurs the lines of reality pretty well.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Katy Pervy: The XXX Parody. Which has her interacting with Lady Gagger, Ka$$ha, Rihandjob, Russell Gland, Snoop Dong and... Elmer!
  • Peacock Girl:
    • A showgirl outfit she wears in "Waking Up In Vegas".
    • A peacock tail for "Peacock".
  • Pink Is Erotic: The music video for "California Girls" has Snoop Dogg wearing a pink tie with a candy-themed pink waistcoat. The women in the video also wear some variant of pink in the video.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Ur So Gay". The main refrain all throughout the song is "You're so gay and you don't even like boys", up until the very end, where the final word of the song is not "boys" but "penis".
  • Product Placement:
    • Subverted. She mentions Chap-Stick in "I Kissed a Girl" and Popsicles in "California Girls", but those trademarks are incredibly diluted.
    • Played straight in "Last Friday Night". She and some other people are seen playing Just Dance on a Wii.
  • Protest Song: "Chained to the Rhythm", about the ignorant masses. The music video took it a step further with the attraction in Oblivia parodying various serious issues.
  • Proud Peacock: "Peacock" uses the titular bird as a synonym for self-confidence and cockiness, as well as an Unusual Euphemism:
    "Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
    Whatcha waiting for, it's time for you to show it off
    Don't be a shy kind of guy, I bet it's beautiful
    C'mon, baby, let me see what you hiding underneath
    I wanna see your peacock-cock-cock
    Your peacock-cock"
  • Pun-Based Title: Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which a play on words of "Complete Collection". It makes sense in context, taking the candy motif of the album into consideration.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The choruses of the first two Teenage Dream singles start like that ("CA! LI! FOR! NIA! GURLS!" and "You! Make! Me! Feel like I'm living a — Tee! Na! Ge! Dream!").
  • Punny Name: She named her cat - and, in the "Roar" music video, a tiger - Kitty Purry.
  • Prince Charming: Katy meets such a character at the end of the "Wide Awake" music video... and punches him in the face.
  • Questionable Consent:
    • Lyrically, in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", Perry details numerous shenanigans that happened partying the night before. Some of which involving sexual encounters.
    • The music video for"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" shows Kathy Beth Terry and her jock crush getting drunk, her being groped by him, and the two passing out on the same bed together. Kathy awakens the next morning with a smile on her face when she sees that she has passed out next to her jock crush and proceeded to check out his package while he is still sleeping.
  • Rags to Riches: When she grew up, her family was low on money and often had to rely on food stamps.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Part of Me" was originally written back in 2010 during the Teenage Dream sessions, but left off the album for unknown reasons. Upon Katy's divorce from Russell Brand in 2012, the song was repurposed as the lead single of Teenage Dream's re-release, with slightly altered lyrics to reflect their separation.
  • Rearrange the Song: "The One That Got Away" was released both as synth-pop and as an acoustic song featuring guitar, piano, and upright bass.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • "Circle the Drain" is this towards Travie McCoy.
    • "Hot and Cold" gives one of these to the narrator's boyfriend.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: "Hot n Cold."
    We fight, we break up / We kiss, we make up!
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • "Peacock", full stop.
    • "Birthday" uses a LOT of party-related metaphors to obscure it's an Intercourse with You song. It goes from subtle to being very unsubtle ('Pop your confetti, Pop your Pérignon / So hot and heavy till dawn'), to being downright Anvilicious ('So let me get you in your birthday suit / It's time to bring out the big balloons').
  • The Rival: Lady Gaga was thought to be this, given that both of their albums Prism and ARTPOP came out at 2013 with the former becoming more successful than the latter, but it's more of a friendly rivalry since Gaga defended Perry's controversial 2013 American Music Awards performance of "Unconditionally" in which the singer got flak for culturally appropriating geisha culture. They also bonded over their support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and were seen consoling each other when the results came in.
  • Rock Star Song: "Wide Awake" is this in the sense it's about after all the positive press goes away "Falling from cloud nine/In front of the world".
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: "Harley's in Hawaii" is about this trope and describes it in detail.
    You and I, I
    Riding Harleys in Hawaii-ai-ai
    I'm on the back I'm holding tight-ai-ai
    Want you to take me for a ride-ai, ride
  • Rockumentary: Part of Me, which details Perry's struggles and eventual rise to pop stardom.
  • Runaway Bride: Played with in the "Hot n Cold" music video where the groom can't spit out an "I Do" at the altar and ends up being chased through the streets by the angry bride and bridesmaids. Although in the end It's All Just a Dream.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In "Dark Horse", the song mentioned the Greek goddess Aphrodite... in a music video set in Memphis, ancient Egypt.
    • A different interpretation is possible though. Cleopatra, from which the song might've took more or less inspiration, was indeed an Egyptian ruler, but with Greek origin.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Hot n Cold" says:
    Yeah you PMS / Like a bitch / I would know.
  • Self-Empowerment Anthem: "Firework" has to be one of the most over the top ever recorded, but it works. The entire song from beginning to end is a bombastic exhortation to show the world what you are worth.
    'Cause baby you're a firework!
    Come on show 'em what you're worth!
    Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
    As you shoot across the sky-y-y!
  • Semper Fi: In the music video for "Part of Me", after Katy breaks up with her cheating boyfriend, she joins the Marines and regains her confidence.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: She was quite proud of this appearance with Elmo. Sesame Street producers, however, decided not to air the segment after some parents complained about her cleavage. This was, of course, brought up on Saturday Night Live, where Perry appeared in a talk show sketch as a teenage volunteer librarian wearing a low-cut Elmo T-shirt and complaining that the parents and the other librarians don't want her to read to kids because of her cleavage-bearing clothes (with the two talk show hosts [played by Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph] telling her that she shouldn't be ashamed about her body and that there are worse things kids witness in their formative years than a woman's cleavage). Her appearance on the Simpsons episode, "The Fight Before Christmas" also mirrors this unaired Sesame Street sketch (only Katy's dress was more skintight than cleavage-bearing, though it did get away with an oral sex joke at the end with Moe kissing Perry's "belly button").
  • Serial Escalation: She broke her own record for the song with the most spins on Pop radio three times and keeps on extending her make for the most consecutive Dance #1 hits (currently: 13).
  • Sexiness Score: Along with other drunken partying, "This Is How We Do" references "going to bed with a 10 and waking up with a 2" as a result of Beer Goggles.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In "Last Friday Night," she goes from adorkable nerd to 80's glam bombshell. Complete with her descending the stairs in slo-mo and garnering a gobsmacked expression from the Jerk Jock.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In her earlier photoshoots (One Of The Boys era), she looked like Bettie Page.
    • In "California Gurls", Snoop Dogg mentions that he "wishes they could all be California girls". Also, from the same song: "Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top!", "sippin' gin 'n' juice", and "zucchinis, martinis, bikinis". And from the music video of the same song, a couple of Pretty Cure fans noticed that when she wore the light purple wig, she looked like a short-haired Cure Berry.
      • That particular Beach Boys shout-out was taken as so specific that the fans thought the Beach Boys would sue. However, the surviving members had no intention and took it as a compliment.
    • The title of the song was originally spelled "California Girls", but Katy's manager asked her to change it to "Gurls" as a reference to Big Star's "September Gurls" after Alex Chilton died — apparently, he's a huge Big Star fan.
    • If one listens closely to the music in the background of "E.T."'s chorus, the sound of an AC-130's 105mm cannon can be discerned.
    • "Wide Awake" takes liberal visuals from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and the Narnia books. It's also deliberately inspired by The Craft.
    • The visuals on her first album cover are inspired by Lolita, which is also mentioned by name in "One of the Boys" (the song).
    • The video for "Unconditionally" takes inspiration from Anna Karenina, right down to the ending.
    • The video for "This Is How We Do" features ones to Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin, the song itself is full of shout-outs.
    • In "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)" her character Kathy Beth Terry's father asks her: ""Why is there some lost boy in your bed?".
  • Showgirl Skirt: She closes out her Prismatic Tour concerts wearing a fireworks-emblazoned one.
  • Slippery Skid: During a live performance of "I Kissed a Girl" at the MTV Latin America Awards, Katy Perry ends the song by jumping into a cake. What was a sexy, badass moment quickly turns into failure as the cake causes Katy to slip and slide all over the place and fall down on stage. A band member tries to help her up, but she can't and ends up crawling away kind of pathetically.
  • Special Guest: She is brought as a guest judge in the 12th season of Masterchef Australia during a challenge where the contestants must cook something that features "Hot and Cold" (which has been used as the series' theme song for 12 years).
  • Stage Name: She was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. Perry was her mother's maiden name. She did so partly because of name overlap with Kate Hudson.
  • Surreal Music Video: "California Gurls", "E.T" (a few people think she out-Gaga'd Lady Gaga in that one), "Wide Awake", and "Dark Horse".
  • Take That!:
    • Both "Circle The Drain" and "Part of Me" were aimed at Travie McCoy, after Katy dumped him in the middle of his drug addiction. The latter is frequently misattributed as a song about Russel Brand, but the demo of it first leaked out while they were engaged.
    • If Swift's "Bad Blood" can be considered a diss track towards Perry, then "Swish Swish" can be considered a diss track towards Swift.
  • The VJ Day Kiss: She reenacted the kiss with a Marine when she was giving a show during the New York Fleet Week as well as during a private show for the Navy.
  • Themed Tattoos: "The One That Got Away" mentions Katy and her high school lover getting matching tattoos after senior year to show their commitment. Later, after he leaves her, she hears that he got his removed to symbolize his moving on.
  • Three-Way Sex: "Last Friday Night" mentions having a menage a trois.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the music video for "Roar", Katy goes from being scared out of her wits Damsel in Distress to the queen of the jungle, even managing to tame a tiger and keeping it as a pet.
  • Too Sexy For This Time Slot: The entire outcry over her appearance on Sesame Street.
  • Torpedo Tits:
    • In the "Firework" video.
    • "California Gurls", except with whipped cream canisters on her bra.
  • Tsundere: The premise of Hot-N-Cold.
  • Two Decades Behind: Parodied and deconstructed in "Last Friday Night".
  • Two First Names: Her actual last name is Hudson.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: The dog show owners in the video for "Small Talk" all match their pets in hair color, style, and profile.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: The music video for "Swish Swish" follows a hilariously bad basketball team (about which the presenters explicitly say they have zero chance to win) that somehow manages to win against their incredibly well-trained opponents.
  • Underwater Kiss: In the music video for "Teenage Dream".
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: In the video for This Is How We Do. She wears eleven different outfitsnote  (twelve if you count the string of pearls), and the female dancers get a similar variety.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In every other song. She's quite creative.
    • "Peacock" may be titled after an exotic bird but it sneaks in an innuendo for the male anatomy. The mere fact that "Peacock" got played on the radio. Some stations blanked out the repeating vocals of "I wanna see your peacock, c**k, c**k!" in the chorus to make the innuendo a little less blatant, but it's still one of the most risque songs that pop radio has ever played.
  • Visual Pun: The use of a peacock for her double entendre filled song "Peacock".
  • Vine Swing: As a Jungle Princess, in her music video for "Roar".
  • Wham Shot: In the music video for "Never Worn White", at the end, Perry can be seen cradling her baby bump.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head:
    • Or in her case, wearing a flag on her dress.
    • She wore this one when she performed for the troops on New York's Fleet Week.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • In 2014, Perry and Taylor Swift, who had been close friends up to that point, had a massive falling out, as exemplified with Swift's 2014 song "Bad Blood", a thinly-veiled diss track towards Perry. The feud went on social media afterwards, with both artists subtly attacking each other (e.g. Perry tweeting "Watch out the Regina George in sheep's clothing", and Swift posting a photo of her seven Grammy Awards, seen as a jab at Perry, who never won one). Perry's song "Swish Swish" is also seen as her own diss track to Swift. They finally ended their feud in 2019, with Perry gracing the music video for Swift's song "You Need to Calm Down" as the final celebrity cameo, hugging Swift while dressing up as a burger (while Swift dressed as french fries).
    • With Rihanna. They were best friends for years and teased being more than that. However, by 2018, they were done, with Perry's feud (and eventually, reconciliation) with Swift being a side plot to her split with Rihanna.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The subject of "Last Friday Night" and "Waking Up in Vegas".
  • Wild Teen Party: Occurs in the video for "Last Friday Night".
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!:
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: "Hot N Cold", "Ur So Gay", "California Gurls".
  • Yandere: "Dark Horse" tells the tale of an enchantress who attempts to lure a man into a relationship with her, and immediately shifts the responsibilities of the relationship onto him, claiming that it's "in the palm of [his] hand", and pressures him to not "make [her] his enemy", or he'll have to face the wrath of "a perfect storm". Juicy J's solo further paints the enchantress as a psychotic lover, comparing her love to a drug addiction and describing her as a karmic beast.


Video Example(s):


Woe, Is Me - "Hot n Cold"

When the cover of the original song takes the meaning of the lyrics an extra mile.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / Tsundere

Media sources: