Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry Chose Chaos This Week

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Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

If I were to describe my ideal night at a club—although “ideal” and “club” are not two words I would ever use in the same sentence—it would involve having pizza thrown at me by Katy Perry. (Frankly, pizza thrown at me by anyone.)

My dream became some lucky revelers’ reality. A video went viral this week of the pop star at a Las Vegas party, where she was hyping the crowd up from behind the DJ booth. “What would really get them going?” it appears she thought to herself. “A beat drop? Some confetti?” No, that wouldn’t do. “I’ve got it: pepperonis in their hair.

In a sequence as thrilling as the climax of Nope, the video shows a paper plate mounted with a slice spin through the air, much like the movie’s UFO seeking its human targets. Pleased with herself, Perry winds up again, this time chucking the slice out plate-free as the crowd grasps for it like it’s the bouquet toss at a wedding. (Note to self: Stellar wedding idea.) It is the only game of frisbee in which I’d ever willingly participate.

My review of this whole ordeal echoes my colleague Kyndall Cunningham, who flagged it earlier this week: “It’s safe to say that this video has brought me enormous joy.”

What I love about this clip is how quickly it went viral. I’m grateful for the variety of reactions to it: Hilarious! Gross! Classic Katy! But, mostly, we were all just united in enjoying it for all its unexpected absurdity. How often are we jolted out of our summer-in-the-apocalypse doldrums by a video of one of the most famous people in the world tossing pizza into a crowd that is living for it? They’re risking it all for a gluten-dairy-combo tummy ache, just to get their mouths on a falling slice. Better than manna from heaven: It’s junk food from Katy Perry.

Little did I know that Katy Perry’s pizza party would usher in a week of absolute pop-star chaos.

Think about all the headlines, mini-news cycles, viral outrage, memes and jokes, and waves of—brace for an ugly word—discourse there has been this week surrounding our reigning divas. Those of us with an appetite for mess have been eating well.

Beyoncé: Music thief! Taylor Swift: Climate criminal! Katy Perry: Assault with a cheesy weapon!

Our music celebrities are usually under such tight control. Not an errant word allowed to be uttered. Not a step out of place allowed to be made. Not a pepperoni allowed to be airborne.

Especially with Beyoncé and Swift, the militant nature of the micromanagement around them is notorious. Their respective publicists are infamous in media circles for the wizard-like swiftness with which they appear to squash, deny, or clarify any unflattering story.

As fans of both, it’s not pleasant for me to bear witness to their respective uproars this week. But as a [redacted]-year-old who can remember when being a music superstar meant being an absolutely ridiculous person who was constantly making mistakes, I miss when this circus of controversy was normal. I actually think that the reason why these news stories hit so big this week is because we’ve veered so far in the direction of controlled perfection.

The most shocking part of the Beyoncé mini-scandals is that there were Beyoncé mini-scandals at all.

Following the release of Renaissance, her latest album and the single reason there’s serotonin detected anywhere in my system, there was backlash because of an ableist slur that was used in one of her songs, which she then changed. She was accused by the artist Kelis of “theft” after one of the tracks borrowed an interpolation of her song but didn’t credit or compensate her. Beyoncé later removed the interpolation. That brouhaha also led to esteemed songwriter Diane Warren questioning why there were so many writer credits on her songs in the first place—a thought that, once the Beyhive arrived, I am certain Warren regretted ever having.

How Does Beyoncé’s ‘Alien Superstar’ Have 24 Writers? Here’s How, Diane Warren.

Outside the confines of an elevator, Beyoncé doesn’t do scandals. Beyoncé controls the story.

These are things that fans would have expected her team to have clocked and accounted for long before they were out in the world to be scrutinized. The ableist language on Renaissance was the same that Lizzo had to address just a month prior. And artists’ compensation and credits is one of the most talked-about issues in the music industry at the moment. On an album so heavy with samples, how was every single thing not accounted for?

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GIF

There is something, albeit viewed through the lens of a superfan, that I find admirable in how this was all handled. In both instances, Beyoncé’s team immediately addressed the issues. There were no overwrought statements, excuses, defense, or fighting back. Just a brisk, quiet remedy. It’s almost as if she was saying, “We will be focusing on the music, not any other noise surrounding it.”

In other words, the opposite of what Swift did.

When a report came out that claimed the singer was the number one offender of egregious carbon emissions because of private-jet use, I have to say that the memes made me laugh. There were GIFs of planes flying captioned with things like, “Taylor Swift heading to Starbucks across the street.” Daily Mail made me howl with this headline:

<div class="inline-image__credit">Daily Mail</div>
Daily Mail

And by the time that photo of Swift deplaning a jet with an oversized umbrella over her came out—if I can’t see them, they can’t see me!—I was giddy with laughter. You have to find the humor in it to stave off the rage. Here I am drinking through paper straws like a goddamn idiot while celebrities are treating the hole in the ozone like it’s Hollywood’s hottest club.

Her team’s response—that Swift’s jet is often lent to other people and all of the attributed trips were not for her—is fair, as is the argument that she’s extremely not alone when it comes to A-listers overusing PJs.

With this Holy Trinity of pop divas serving as agents of chaos this week, I quickly scanned to see what the others were up to. Demi Lovato is updating her pronouns to include she/her after a year. Lizzo is eating spicy chicken wings. Rihanna is living her best life ignoring the hell out of all of us, and bless her for that.

Then there’s Lady Gaga, who never disappoints. She, unfortunately, confirmed this week that she will be joining the extremely cursed sequel to Joker, an offense to gays everywhere. Why, Stefani? I guess there can be 100 clowns in a room and 99 of them are telling you not to make this movie. But all it takes is one Joaquin Phoenix—and one week of chaos—to believe that this could ever be a good idea.

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