By Jillian Mapes

For her Saturday Night Live appearance this time around, Katy Perry did not even attempt any jokes. It was all business, with two heavily themed performances of Prism tracks “Roar” and “Walking on Air.”

Surrounded by lush vegetation, “Roar” saw Perry recalling the song’s jungle-themed video. With a lyrical message that so easily lends itself to some sort of schtick — be it the boxing ring or the the lion’s roar — we certainly didn’t expect Perry to stand there and sing. Dance moves were at a minimum — it was most inspiring poses.  Her band lost the coin toss with regards to the costumes, though.

Perry’s second song, “Walking on Air,” was just as themed in its set dressing, leaning instead towards the ’90s and specifically  Clueless for its costuming. Clad in a pleated plaid mini, white crop top and white knee-highs, Perry served up major Cher Horowitz; her dancers, clad in skintight white, were club kid in attitude but far more minimal in actual look. When props in the form of sheer fabric are integrated into the sleek set, you will find yourself questioning which decade it is.

When Perry first started discussing Prism in the press, she mentioned influences like Cece Peniston and ’90s club music. “Walking on Air,” she said, was inspired by rollerbladers she saw dancing to “deep house music” in Central Park. She wanted to make a song those rollerbladers could dance to. Though the song and its SNL performance are dreamier than all that, she’s pulling from multiple styles of the time period and making it her own.

Perry continues her Prism party with a benefit show for Young Survival Coalition, called We Can Survive and taking place October 23 at the Hollywood Bowl. Tegan & Sara, Ellie Goulding, Sara Bareilles and Kacey Musgraves join her.


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