Surrounded by neon cacti and palm trees, Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry bridged the gap between Perry’s candy-coated pop confections and Musgraves’ twangy slice-of-life country canons seamlessly during their taping of CMT’s “Crossroads.”
The 50th edition of the genre-blending performance show featuring the two tourmates (Musgraves will open a portion of Perry’s U.S. outing, starting June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina), taped at Los Angeles’ Sony Studios in April and debuts this Friday (June 13th) at 10:00 PM ET on CMT. Watch them perform the pop star’s massive hit, “Roar,” below.
Both artists were decked out —Musgraves in a bejeweled satin shorts set and Perry in a sparkling leotard, transparent purple skirt, and green hair —but the focus was on the music, not on fashion finery.
As with past “Crossroads,” the two served up a sampling of each other’s songs, as well as some smartly selected covers. The duo delved first into Musgraves’ “Step Off” and “Merry Go ‘Round,” from her Grammy-and ACM-Award winning major label debut, “Same Trailer Different Park,” with Perry crossing onto the country side and singing in a huskier register than normal.
Perry’s almost sisterly pride in Musgraves shined through when she talked about discovering Musgraves’ music after hearing “Merry Go ‘Round.” In a tweet heard around the world, she declared her love for the song. Musgraves, who was in Dublin at the time, talked about how her Twitter account blew up. They two then met and Musgraves even asked Perry if she wanted to record “Follow Your Arrow,” but Perry graciously (and wisely) told Musgraves that she needed to keep that one for herself. As they traded verses on the song, it was easy to see how perfectly it would have fit into Perry’s often uplifting repertoire.
Each singer also picked a cover tune for the pair to tackle: Perry’s pick was an achingly poignant version of “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” the 1991 Bonnie Raitt hit, penned by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin (Shamblin also co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”). Musgraves chose Dolly Parton’s peppy-yet-resigned ’70s crossover smash, “Here You Come Again.” Both were perfect choices and tremendous crowd pleasers.
The two artists shared a sassy repartee throughout the evening, often jokingly boasting that they had performed a song perfectly, it was the other one that made a do-over necessary. Musically, they were just as complementary, with Musgraves’ superior vocal range and Perry’s powerful voice combining to bring Perry’s sweet, sexy ode to young love, “Teenage Dream,” and to show closer, Perry’s voracious, empowering “Roar” to new crescendos. Here’s hoping they continue performing together while on tour, although recording together would be even better.