American award shows don’t have a monopoly on politics. Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump at the Golden Globes, A Tribe Called Quest denounced the president’s “Muslim ban” at the Grammys. Who knows what might happen at this Sunday’s Oscars? But on Wednesday night in London, it was Katy Perry’s turn.
During a performance of her new single “Chained to the Rhythm” alongside Skip Marley (grandson of Bob), Perry was joined on stage by two enormous dancing skeletons. As viewers at home soon began to realize, they were dressed exactly like President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May were when they met at the White House late last month.
At one point, the skeletons even appeared to hold hands, something Trump and May caught some flak for doing during their visit. But as the Sunday Times reported later, “Downing Street officials claimed the president’s phobia of stairs and slopes led him to grab the prime minister’s hand as they walked down a ramp at the White House.”
Among the song’s lyrics are these that appear to reference a common narrative about the presidential election: “So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble / So comfortable, we can’t see the trouble, the trouble.”
Perry, who was a loyal surrogate to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, injected some subtler political messaging into her performance at the Grammy Awards earlier this month. Appearing in front of the U.S. Constitution, she wore a white pantsuit that echoed Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech outfit as well as an armband that read “persist,” a nod to Elizabeth Warren.