On Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, the world might take one small step toward peace. After years of bitter feuding, show host Katy Perry and her arch-nemesis Taylor Swift look set to put an end to their drawn-out vendetta.
Ever since 2013, the pop icons have been sniping at each other in interviews, over social media, and even in songs like Swift’s “Bad Blood” and Perry’s “Swish Swish.” The row started when Perry apparently “stole” Swift’s backup dancers, but in a “Carpool Karaoke” segment with James Corden earlier this year, Perry claimed they were her dancers first, and only on loan to Swift because Perry was inactive.
Now, however, speculation from fans and industry experts suggests they both know enough is enough.
“We’re at a point in world history where two strong women have more to worry about than who stole whose dancers,” says Lori Majewski, co-host of SiriusXM’s “Feedback” (broadcast on the Volume channel).
Perry, 32, and Swift, 27, stand to benefit from patching up their rivalry in other ways, too. Perry’s campaign for her new album, “Witness,” is struggling with mixed reviews and underperforming singles. After initially taking further shots at her rival earlier this year, Perry finally offered an olive branch to Swift in an interview with Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global podcast in June, saying she was “ready to let it go,” adding that she was “sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her.”
At press time, Swift wasn’t officially confirmed to be performing on Sunday’s show, but given that her new single dropped on Thursday night and her new album “Reputation” is out Nov. 10, a comeback appearance of some kind seems very likely. There’s no better launchpad for this new phase in her career than closing up old wounds, and accepting Perry’s offer for peace will show the world that she doesn’t always hold a grudge.
“I spoke to Katy this week on the show, and she said her main concern was not to have one of those ‘What’s good?’ moments,” says Majewski, referring to the 2015 VMAs when Nicki Minaj sniped at host Miley Cyrus for bad-mouthing her in the press. “As soon as she said that, I knew in her head she was thinking about Taylor.”
Some fans have even speculated that Swift and Perry might seal their reunification by collaborating on a song, but MTV executives have said there is nothing planned. Bruce Gillmer, executive producer for the VMAs and head of music and music talent for Viacom’s Global Entertainment Group, denies that any kind of reconciliation was being engineered by the network. (MTV is owned by Viacom.)
“I hope that if Katy and Taylor both find themselves in the same space, they have a positive interaction,” Gillmer tells The Post. “But right now, there’s no plan for that.”
But that won’t be enough to stop the rumor mill from whirring all weekend, and it certainly isn’t enough to convince Majewski.
“There’s no way those two are not going to interact. If Katy and Taylor don’t put their hands up in the air and clasp them together, it’s gonna be a huge anticlimax for all of womankind.”
Other VMA highlights to watch for:
The VMAs get woke
MTV is determined to make its VMA show more than fluffy entertainment in such politically tumultuous times. This is the first year that the ceremony will give out an award for protest-minded music in a new “Fight Against the System” category, and the famous Moonman is now a nongendered “Moon Person.” “We’re hyper-socially conscious — we have to [be] because of the way the world is moving,” says VMA executive producer Bruce Gillmer. Expect more than a few provocative acceptance speeches and a politically charged performance of “Walk on Water” from Jared Leto’s band Thirty Seconds to Mars. Plus, MTV has invited transgender military service members to the show.
Do you still think he’s sexy?
This ain’t your grandma’s VMAs! But tell her not to go to bed before Rod Stewart comes on. That’s right: The 72-year-old rocker is set to return to MTV for a new version of his 1978 classic “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” in what could be the car-crash moment of the night.
“This is par for the course in many ways,” says Gillmer. “Think back to Elton John and Guns N’ Roses [performing ‘November Rain’ in 1992] or Britney Spears and Madonna [locking lips in 2003]. The idea is to bring as many people into our tent as possible.”
Pink gets a Video Vanguard Award
Seventeen years on from her debut album, “Can’t Take Me Home,” the flamboyant singer-songwriter will be honored with the coveted Video Vanguard Award, which last year was awarded to Rihanna.
“Pink deserves it because of her longevity,” says SiriusXM’s Lori Majewski. “She’s never had a drought, and she can sing while doing acrobatics. Many of her contemporaries can’t sing standing still!”
The return of Miley Cyrus
The VMAs have been defined by Cyrus in recent years: 2013 was the twerk heard around the world, and 2015 saw her arguing with Nicki Minaj during the live broadcast. Even though her latest material shows her more mature side, Gillmer teases that we’ll all still be talking about Cyrus on Monday morning. “You could guess as much as you want, but no one would get close to nailing what she’s about to do during the ceremony.”
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