5 Things We Took Away from Kacey Musgraves’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Crossroads’ Performance
Before this weekend’s airing of CMT's ‘Crossroads,’ the names 'Kacey Musgraves' and 'Katy Perry’ probably wouldn’t be used in the same sentence very often. But after the unlikely duo's impressive performance, it might be difficult separate them.
Musgraves and Perry each have distinctive styles, but the laid back country newcomer and bubbly pop music vet have more in common than you might think. Both have a quirky approach to songwriting with a touch of sass, telling poignant stories and not shying away from speaking their mind. Many of their primary musical influences even overlap, including legends like Bonnie Raitt and Dolly Parton. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with.
In case you missed the unique performance, here are our top five takeaways from the night.
During ‘Crossroads,’ Musgraves and Perry sat down together and talked about nearly everything — what they like about one another’s style and point of view, why sticking to your guns and staying true to self is important for longevity, and even what elements make a good song. The two agreed that regardless of any other variable, vulnerability is the key to a quality song. “I think the best songs are the most truthful,” Musgraves says. “I love that we are all made of the same emotions.” Perry agrees. “We always feel so individualistic, like we’re the only person, and there’s millions of other people going through the same thing," she responds. “But if you can write a song about it than you make someone feel not so alone.”
The girl-power-packed set closed with an anthemic performance of Perry’s ‘Roar,’ the first single from her most recent album ‘PRISM.’ It began with singular, gritty power chords, immediately recognized by excited fans in the audience who then knew what was coming. Perry began her infectious tune, and Musgraves joined in on the prechorus, providing flawless harmony to Perry’s memorable hook. It was clear both artists were having a blast on stage each time the two belted the chorus together. Musgraves stepped in for verse two, and her beautifully-executed, slight changes in melody gave the song a taste of her signature flavor. This performance was proof that the women make a great team, both musically and in message.
The pairing of Musgraves and Perry fits so well, it’s hard to believe the performers haven’t been working together for years. Their onstage chemistry just works — the cheesy dance moves they choreographed to Dolly Parton’s ‘Here I Go,’ their charming back-and-forth banter in between songs, their complimenting styles — it all comes together in a “where-have-you-been-all-my-life” kind of way. When during the set, Musgraves jokes to the crowd, “Check out her see-through skirt,” Perry doesn’t miss a beat, retorting, “It’s Hollywood, honey, you gotta give ‘em a little something -- “ “Showbiz,” interjects Musgraves. "I know you’re fresh off the boat from Nashville,” Perry continues, as the audience cracks up. It’s not just their personalities that mesh, though. Perry’s signature combination of belty and airy notes along with her full, raspier sound blends seamlessly with Musgraves' more straightforward, twangy and flirty vibe. These two are a match made in heaven.
‘Merry-Go-Round’ is a clear standout on Musgraves’ most recent album, ‘Same Trailer, Different Park,’ painting a picture of a small town stuck in a perpetual cycle of addiction, empty traditions and a lack of ambition. Musgraves kicks off the country ballad, and Perry joins in gracefully on the chorus with a higher harmony, complimenting Musgraves and providing an extra dose of lovely to the already well-written song. Perry comes in for the second verse with a sincerity and broken-heartedness so evident you’d think the song was her own. The two come together for this performance with a oneness of emotion and purpose that can’t be forced or manufactured, making it a must-see highlight from the show.
Though it is hard to chose the No. 1 takeaway from the Musgraves/Perry 'Crossroads,' the performance edging out the rest is their cover of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me.’ One of two covers performed during the night -- both originally released by Musgraves' and Perry's shared idols -- the duet is a simple, emotional tribute to the bluesy country-rock legend. Both voices shine as they each take a verse and provide harmonies for one another, breathing new life into the classic ballad. The musicality and skill displayed by both artists is breathtaking. If you watch one performance from Musgraves' and Perry's ‘Crossroads,’ make it this one.