The odd marriage of music and politics: Katy Perry 'roars' for Hillary Clinton in crucial Pe
(By Ruth Sherlock 11.06.16 of The Telegraph)
"Let me hear you roar for Hillary!" Katy Perry shouted bouncing on stage in blue leather leggings and a coat emblazoned with the words "I'm with madame president".
The Democratic nominee grinned as the 21st century pop icon descended, like sassy manna from heaven, to deliver her the millennial vote.
The setting of the Philadelphia concert, with its low lights, lasers, plumes of smoke and screaming teenagers was not Mrs Clinton's natural habitat.
And in its initial moments, collision of the political and musical worlds, was almost painful to watch.
Mrs Clinton clapped and attempted an awkward jig when Ms Perry appeared to the tune of Janet Jackson's "nasty girls" lyrics, a play on Donald Trump's description of his rival at the debate. The artist saved her with a hug.
Then there was the odd line up. Ms Perry, showing off stunning makeup and natural rhythm, held hands with the collection of Clinton supporting congressional candidates and politicians, dressed in plain business attire and struggling to look comfortable in their own skin.
But then they left the stage, and Ms Perry, one of a roster of top celebrities the Clinton campaign is deploying in the final days of the campaign, got to work.
Brimming with energy she blended her biggest hits with rallying political calls. Performing 'Part of me', she paused after the lyric "find out who is really there for me": "Are you there for her?" she shouted. The audience responded with deafening cheers.
One of the highest earning artists in the world, the California singer performed four of her top hits, including "Rise" and "Roar", a song being used in a Clinton television advert being deployed in key swing states.
"It's OK to have some fun and still change the world right?" she said coyly, having shed her coat to reveal a shimmering American flag dress below. "Shouldn't we have some fun whilst we make the world a better place?"
For over a year now the Ms Perry, who was brought up in an evangelical home and began her career singing Christian songs, has thrown her weight behind getting Mrs Clinton elected to the White House.
"I've been knocking on doors," she told the crowd. "A couple of weeks ago I knocked on college dorm rooms in Las Vegas. The smell was interesting," she said with a mock grimace. "But I think we got the vote."
With her awkward public demeanour Mrs Clinton has struggled to connect with America's youth. It's a problem that almost lost her the Democratic nomination to Bernie Sanders, the septuagenarian senator from Vermont.
Pennsylvania is a critical swing state in this election. Mrs Clinton leads in the state by 2.4 per cent of the vote, according to a Real Clear Politics average. But Mr Trump is working hard to close that gap.
And because there is no in person early voting allowed in the state, Democrats remain uneasy about the solidity of their lead.
In order to keep the state they need a high turnout among millennial voters. The solution is the celebrity drive.
Mrs Clinton is coming to Philadelphia twice in the campaign’s closing days. It's here that she will hold her final pre-election rally, bolstered by the star power of Barack and Michelle Obama, both of whom, even after eight years in the White House, remain more popular with the public than Mrs Clinton.
The strategy seems to be effective. Saturday night's crowd was largely young, fired up and ready to go. They queued for some five hours to enter the open-air venue. Those that couldn't get seats spread out blankets on the grass.
"Bringing in Katy Perry is really working," said Maureen Devlin, 21, a student of a Philadelphia university who has come here withe five other friends. "Celebrities are spreading to young people and reminding them that they have to vote."
And they weren't all just there for the singer. "I don't even like Katy Perry that much," said Justin Voss, a 29-year-old health professional who had come with two friends.
Austin Saiz's excitement for Mrs Clinton goes back a long way. The 24-year-old said: "I was a supporter of Hillary even when I was a child. I remember seeing her on the television. I found her an inspiring figure. She's a powerful woman. I have waited a long time for this moment."
Even those who were not natural fans seemed ready to concede that in this extraordinary election Mrs Clinton should have their vote.
"We have to vote for (Darth) Vader or Voldemort," said Sean Procter, 27, comparing Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump to the villains of Star Wars and Harry Potter respectively.
"So we went for Vader. Because there could be redemption for Vader in the end," he said, referring to the Star Wars plot.
Whatever their reasons for choosing Mrs Clinton, her campaign now just wants to make sure that they turn out and vote.
"Let's continue supporting our girl and in three days lets make history," Perry yelled. "See you at the polls next Tuesday!"