Earlier this month, Peter Robinson of Popjustice coined “The New Boring” for the, in his words, SOLID BEIGE music that remains once the glitzier likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna have shot their last laser or danced atop their last lap. His column wasn’t directly about The X Factor (that is, except for the part where he lamented how, in the British semifinals, “every white male contestant appeared to be attempting the self-consciously excitement-free vocal style of Tom Waits in a Strepsil famine.”) It’s still a convenient way to explain Katy Perry’s performance on the show today.
Watch it below. She has pink hair, because that’s practically required in the contract for U.S. pop artists this year, but that’s the flashiest part of Perry’s performance of sixth single “The One That Got Away.” The stage is bare, the song’s stripped of all Max Martin/Dr. Luke-isms, not a titillating candy metaphor’s to be found, and Perry even accompanies herself on acoustic guitar. Does it work? She sounds better live than on recording, but she also doesn’t sound entirely like Katy Perry here. Your call on how much of an improvement that is.