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Forget Lady Gaga. If there's one pop star today who's managed to morph into a brand beyond singing talent, it's Katy Perry.
Her songs are inescapable. Five singles from her Grammy Album of the Year-nominated sophomore disc, Teenage Dream, have taken over Top 40 radio, making it impossible to not hear her belting out songs about sex on the beach, having sex for the first time, having sex with two other people, or alien sex. Silly topics, sure, but Perry has a way with a hook and a lyric that has earned her critical respect often reserved for more "serious" artists, while selling millions of albums at the same time.
As her songs help shape the young minds of today, it's Perry's persona that has kept her, and her perky assets, on top. She exudes an über-confidence that forces you to take notice, no matter how superficial the topic she's addressing seems.
She managed to make girl-on-girl action radio-friendly and appealing to the masses with her debut single, "I Kissed a Girl," while boasting a song called "Ur So Gay" on the same album. Don't think she lost any potential gay fans because of these tracks, either. In an interview with dosomething.org, she stated: "I've come a long way from where I was raised, and I think, specifically, I realized that when I moved out of my home and I started meeting lots of different types of people — all kinds of different people; it doesn't matter what their sexual orientation [is]. I've always been very a open-minded person, but I definitely believe in equality." With makeup that drag-alicious, it's hard to hold jokey songs about ex-boyfriends against her.
Perry's outgoing, say-whatever-is-on-her-mind demeanor is empowering, and by marrying British comedian/reformed man-whore Russell Brand, she's created a power couple juggernaut that guarantees spotlight status. Just ignore those rumors they're on the outs because they never see each other — when you're creating a celebrity dynasty, face time isn't that important.
Perry's bright blue-streaked hair and food-themed costumes have made her a media darling, and her breasts almost have become a bigger topic of conversation than her songs. Some may say she's drifted into slutwave territory, but Perry is not ashamed to flaunt what she's got — even on children's shows like Sesame Street.
Like any star worth her weight in gold, she's an entrepreneur. You can smell like Perry — just buy her perfume. You can "watch" her on screen this summer, as Smurfette in the upcoming looks-so-bad-it-must-rule Smurfs film. Even her cat, Kitty Purry, has star appeal.
It's hard to believe it all has come from humble beginnings as a child Christian artist, getting her start as Katy Hudson, with songs like "Last Call," which isn't as catchy as "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," but does foreshadow her love for a good sax solo.
Perry's fame is a result of her ability to capture fans from all demographics. She's actually got strong pipes, and her songs are so instantly catchy that even little kids can sing along. Peeps who are fans of hot bodies can check her out wearing lingerie in men's magazines, while young women can relate to her brash and sassy attitude. It's not perfect, but pretty close to the being the best of both worlds, commercially.
It's a far cry from her early touring days on Vans Warped Tour, but it's all part of Perry coming into her own as a strong female role model. Or it's at least a way to pack theaters with voyeurs.