When Did Katy Perry Become Elon Musk’s Go-To PR Shill?

When Did Katy Perry Become Elon Musk’s Go-To PR Shill?

Katy Perry, respectfully, what the hell are you doing?

Is it just me, or do we, as a society, collectively ask that question every three months or so? Whether she’s duking it out with some nuns over real estate, joining American Idol as a judge more than a decade after it was cool, releasing shoes that resemble blackface and minstrel make-up, or battling another old person for a different piece of real estate, Ms. Perry’s moves often feel out of step with what the public might want from a beloved celebrity. (That said, however, I will grant that when she somehow found a way to denounce feminism while accepting a Woman of the Year award in 2012, that was actually very on trend.)

Now, the Left Shark of pop star PR moves is at it again, happily posing with a Cybertruck and thanking Elon Musk for sending her one just days after Tesla issued its biggest recall yet for that same vehicle. This apparently isn’t the first time she’s shilled for Tesla, either, which leads me to wonder what this company and its man-child of a founder actually have over her.

Perry’s X post is short and sweet: “thx for the delivery @elonmusk#idol,” she wrote on Tuesday, alongside a photo of herself standing in front of a Cybertruck in an admittedly stunning aubergine leather ’fit, complete with gloves. Musk, who could really use a win right now, replied, “Looks good.” Evidently, Perry had a busy day in that ensemble; she also wore it in her extremely adorable shout-out to Sabrina Carpenter’s song of the summer contender “Espresso.” It’s really too bad she didn’t just end things there, but longtime fans know better than anyone that is simply not the Katy Perry way.

It looks like Perry and Musk go back at least to 2017, when she made a bizarre but admittedly kinda funny preview video for the MTV VMA’s about Musk sending her to Mars. (Her co-stars in this video included Apollo 13 star Kevin Bacon, NASA astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Peggy Whitson, Kathryn Hahn for some reason, and Abbi Jacobson, who probably got roped in because of her work on Broad City, which, like MTV, is owned by Paramount.)

For those who need a refresher, 2017 would’ve been back when Musk was still talking about sending people to Mars by 2024, which, for those keeping track, would be this year. When Billboard boldly asked Perry for her thoughts about the prospect of colonizing the Red Planet, the singer ventured that it could be a solid “Plan B” given all the turmoil that was unfolding here on Earth.

“But will there be WiFi and will it be too hot?” Perry wondered aloud. “Those are my main concerns. I definitely will need some snacks.” Months later, she posted a video of an influencer play set on Instagram with the seemingly humorous caption “ready for mars @elonmusk.”

Sadly for Perry and the rest of us, both of SpaceX’s Starship test flights have exploded—the first from a controlled detonation after the Starship faced serious problems, and the second on its own, just eight minutes after liftoff. But as the New York Times put it after the second pyrotechnics show, “SpaceX’s ‘fail fast, learn faster’ approach toward rocket design” dictates that “successfully avoiding a repeat of past failures counts as major progress.” By that metric, I guess they’re doing great!

In 2020, Perry turned up in Musk’s Space Launch Live: America Returns to Space broadcast. According to Billboard, she sat “on a glittery crescent moon with a star-studded background” while watching a live feed of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 astronaut launch. “We just wanted to pay homage to the ’60s,” she told Billboard, “and all the incredible space travel that happened then, landing on the moon.”

That wasn’t the last time Perry lobbied for Musk to send him to Mars on one of his rockets, either. Two years later, in 2022, she seemingly included scaled-down models of SpaceX’s Starships in her “When I’m Gone” video with Alesso.

Was that conspicuous feature a coincidence, or does Katy Perry something about the fate of Earth that we don’t? Who knows—maybe “E.T.” was more than one of the biggest hits of 2010. Maybe it was a bit of dark foreshadowing from someone in the know. Either way, if she wants to make it to her Mars era, I’d highly recommend getting the accelerator pedal on that Cybertruck checked.

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