Katy P VS. Lady G.

 

Katy Perry burst onto our airwaves and TV screens in a blur of same-sex kisses and “cherry Chapstick” around the same time as Lady Gaga made her mark on the world with “Just Dance”. I had a preference for the former song at the time, however Gaga has proved she’s much more than a flash in the pan and has become one of my favourite artists, in pretty much every sense of the word.

Perry, on the other hand, is talked about more for her engagement to controversial comedian Russell Brand and star turn as Smurfette in the new Smurfs movie than for her singing talent.

No doubt she has a great voice, but her “Calfornia Gurls” video clip didn’t really live up to the hype, and it feels a bit forced.

Gaga’s clip for “Alejandro”, however, was more than I could’ve ever imagined it to be. Considering the song has an almost calypso vibe to it, I was expecting something more along the lines of her mediocre clip for the equally mediocre “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say).” Granted, it was only her third single, and her record label was trying to push a mainstream image of her as opposed to the eccentric megastar we know her as today.

The highly sexualised and borderline blasphemous video evokes tones of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”, “Rain”, “Vogue” and “Human Nature” as well as her film Evita. There are also references to Cabaret and Joan of Arc, in the red and white habit she wears. While I think it is an awesome and quite moving video that will stand the test of time, I admit Gaga has drawn a lot of her material for it from the one she is so often compared to, Madonna. I’ve never really noticed it before now…

It is certainly “like an 8+ minute homage to Madonna… with some gay Nazis thrown in for good measure”, according to the National Post, and even though director Steven Klein defended the video from religious groups, saying, “The religious symbolism is not meant to denote anything negative, but represents the character’s battle between the dark forces of this world and spiritual salvation of the Soul. Thus at the end of the film, she chooses to be a nun… she is withdrawing her senses from the world of evil and going inward towards prayer and contemplation.”

But when Gaga herself says that the video is about “a celebration of my love and appreciation for the gay community,” which, to me, signals the “dark forces of this world” could perhaps be the views of the Church towards gays and that “withdrawing… from the world of evil” is moving away from the Church.

So is Katy Perry right when she Tweets, “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke”? It may be right (in some peoples’ eyes; certainly not mine. I’m all for a bit of religious imagery to spice up a music video or two), but it’s also hypocritical.

Perry comes from a religious background, but surely that background should be null and void when she releases “I Kissed A Girl”, gets engaged to a former sex and drug addict, and whose latest video features her naked on a cloud of fairy floss, and then tries to comment on religious good taste. To borrow another quote from the National Post, “I’m not sure if the girl who’s lactating whipped cream in her latest video should be judging other people’s lack of taste.”

In her defence, Perry did take to the radio in response to the controversy, saying “sexuality [as per her videos] is not the same as spirituality [as in Gaga’s videos].”

As Celebitchy notes, Perry released her “California Gurls” video on the same day the “Alejandro” clip came out. Jealous, much?

Here is a juxtaposition of both lady’s clips, so you can decide who should win this war. Vote one, Lady Gaga!

The Debut: I Kissed a Girl VS. Just Dance.

Hot N Cold VS. Poker Face.

The Love Interest Cameo: Waking Up in Vegas with Joel Moore VS. Paparazzi with Alexander Skarsgard.

The Collaboration: If We Ever Meet Again with Timbaland VS. Telephone with Beyonce.

California Gurls VS. Alejandro.

Elsewhere: [National Post] Scandal Sheet: Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” Debuts.

[MTV] Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” Director Defends Video’s Religious Symbolism.

[MTV] Lady Gaga Offers “Alejandro” Video Sneak Peek on Larry King Live.

[Celebitchy] Katy Perry Says Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” Video is “Blasphemy”.

Lady Most Likely: Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People

Every time I turn on the readio, it seems like there’s a Will.I.Am collaboration (“3 Words” with Cheryl Cole; Usher’s “OMG”; “Imma Be” with Black Eyed Peas) or Will.I.Am sounding collaboration (“Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B.; “If We Ever Meet Again” by former über-producer Timbaland and Katy Perry) getting airtime. The BEP front man may indeed be the new Timabland, so I was surprised he didn’t make it onto the list. There’s always next year, I suppose…

Someone who did make it on, though, is Lady Gaga.

Cyndi Lauper, Gaga’s partner-in-crime for the MAC AIDS Fund, profiles her for possibly the most talked about ranking this year. I have no doubt Gaga is the most influential person in entertainment today, as she’s collaborating with and inspiring the fashion, beauty, art, advertising, music and film worlds with her own performance artas Lauper writes, “she is inspiring other artists to go further in their own work”and striking up water cooler conversation with her boundary pushing antics, both onstage and off.

Time is spot on in naming Marc Jacobs the only influential fashion figure. Jacobs, who is profiled by fellow fashionista and friend, Victoria Beckham, glamorised grunge, began the bag lady chic movement, and is now championing voluptuousness in his new season looks for Louis Vuitton and his titular line. Perhaps Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour would have made welcome additions, but Jacobs certainly has the respect of all facets of the fashion world his peers, his models, his muses and his loyal subjects.

I am utterly dumbfounded to not see George Clooney on the list. Not only did he single-handedly organise the Hope for Haiti Now telethon but, like a fine wine, he only gets better with age.

In other “Artists” notes, shoe in Oprah is profiled by Phil Donahue, while her partner, “Mr Oprah” Stedman Graham makes the Least Influential list (more on that below); Robert Pattinson is bafflingly included (for influencing legions of teens and, worryingly, tweens ready and willing to let Pattinson bite them? Perhaps Brad and Angelina would have been better choices, as they actually contribute something to societyas well as being really, really ridiculously good looking. Or even Stephenie Meyer, without whom Pattinson wouldn’t have an Edward Cullen to broodingly portray); and “new media mogul” Ashton Kutcher, whom I was pleasantly surprised to see on the list.

Of course, President Obama makes an appearance as one of, if not the most influential leaders. While he certainly is the most well-known leader on the list, whether he’s been as influential as he could have during his first year in the presidency is a point of contention for a lot of politicos and American citizens.

My second favourite President (after Obama, George W. Bush is the only other President whose reign I was [un]lucky enough to grow up during, so Clinton wins via default), I find Bill Clinton funny, charming and smartalthough, hey may not have been utilising the latter during Lewinskygate. Nonetheless, he’s making positive change, and that’s all that matters here.

On the other hand, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin makes the list. She is certainly fascinating and controversial, but I wouldn’t call her influential. Perhaps she would be more at home on Barbara Walters’ annual most fascinating people list?

Speaking of other lists, on page 96 you will find Joel Stein’s “The Time Bum Hundred”, relaying how he chronicled the 100 least influential people of 2010, split into “four categories… Losers, Flameouts, Morons and Slimy Bastards”. The complete list is not available in the mag, but it is on Time’s website.

Here is a sneak peak of “the Least Influential People Who Used to or Ought to Have Influence”, not including babies (who really are the least influential people in the world!), “the tattooed chick who messed up Sandra Bullocks’ marriage” (negative influence), and Tiger Woods, who just had a “bad year”, but is “still immensely influential, only now his influence lies in preventing men from texting their mistresses”: the Tom Tom GPS navigation system; “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”; Paula Adbul; Michael Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray who, unfortunately, was influential enough last year to play a key role in the death of Michael Jackson; Joaquin Phoenix; gay-disapprover, sex tape “without any sex” star and Former Miss California Carrie Prejean; “first dog” Bo Obama; George Clooney’s ex, Sarah Larson; former MTV TRL host Carson Daly; questionably, The Doors, who “actually sucked and just had a handsome lead singer”; Grover; Carrot Top; news anchor Katie Couric; John Edwards; the quintessential douche bag reality show dropout, Jon Gosselin; keeping it in the familyLindsay and Michael Lohan; Jersey Shore outcast Angelina Pivarnick; Bernie Madoff; Levi Johnston; Tila Tequila; Nicollette Sheridan; witches (“Charmed was like, ten years ago. It’s all about vampires, werewolves and zombies now”); anddrum roll pleaseSpencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, collectively known as Speidi. Let’s hope Heidi truly is uninfluential, especially for The Hills‘ primarily teen audience’ssake, or we could have an army of over-inflated, frozen-foreheaded Barbie clones on our hands.