This week in Shade Court, we examine the saga we're all already tired of between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, some NFL players act like douchebags, and the boy band battles never end. Quiet, please: Shade Court is now called to order.
The Case: Katy Perry and Taylor Swift hate each other. Katy Perry performed during the Super Bowl halftime show. During the halftime show, Katy Perry's backup dancers donned polka dot bikinis that looked curiously similar to a bathing suit worn by Taylor Swift the summer she tried to become a Kennedy.
The Defendant: Cosmopolitan
The Deliberation: It's important to remember that Katy Perry dresses like kind of a fool just about every time she's on a stage. Ironically, the bathing suit costumes don't seem at all removed from her usual aesthetic of adult versions of children's costumes. (We should also remember that its Katy Perry's costume designer who really deserves most of the credit here.)
Strangely, this isn't particularly rude—Taylor looked great in that bikini. It's not as if Katy is calling upon some unflattering photo or embarrassing mishap that occurred while she was wearing her red polka dot bikini. What we're dealing with here is drawn in much finer lines: it's not the bathing suit itself that Katy's poking fun at.
Instead, this is really just a mindfuck directed towards Taylor. This is Katy Perry letting her know that, oh yes, she's willing to go there. Not only that, I believe this is Katy Perry's way of rubbing in the fact that—even though she maybe or maybe did not pay to perform at the game, and even though her last album was released back in October of 2013—she is the one performing at the halftime show, not Taylor.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: The Backstreet
Grown Ass Men Boys have been promoting a Backstreet Boys documentary, because mortgages don't pay themselves. The group appeared in a video for E! Online where they answered boy band trivia and marveled at the fact that they're still in a boy band.
The guys were presented with NSYNC—commonly understood to be their arch boy band nemesis—lyrics and asked to identify the song. Aaron Carter's brother flatly answered, "NSYNC," and added, "I'm sorry, we heard that song all the time." He was cut off by the other blonde one who plugged his nose and began singing the song in question, trying to—I guess—suggest that NSYNC's vocals were nasally and the song is bad.
The Defendant: Popsugar
The Deliberation: There actually is a faint, wintry mix of shade in this video, but Popsugar got the wrong person.
Nick Carter's delivery was perfect. He didn't do or say anything outright hostile but you can absolutely tell that he fucking hates that song. He just sat there with his legs crossed and face all stern like an exasperated old diva and tried to play it off as a simple issue of frequency. Sure, Nick. Sure.
The other blonde one—who I've just been informed is named Brian—behaved like an actual little boy. I'm not sure why you'd try to hate on another group that you were wildly similar to. Sure, many of us had a favorite, either the Backstreet Boys or NSYNC, but it wasn't because we were blown away by the vocal artistry of one versus the other. I won't say "nice," but, you tried, Brian.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Look who's back! Katy Perry appeared on the cover of Elle magazine and said some things in an interview that people are trying to play off as interesting. She talked about how the media uses the personas and onstage antics of pop stars to paint a specific narrative about them in real life, which, duh.
"You've got to name someone the villain, someone the princess, someone's the mom [and] the dad type—you know there always have to be characters. As pop figures, we're all characters. And the media uses that."
She continued, "Who is the sweetheart, who is the villain? You know. Taylor's the sweetheart. Kanye West's the villain. That's the narrative."
The Defendant: E! Online
The Deliberation: I think it's interesting that E! Online dubbed her comments about Taylor Swift as "shade," but her comments about Britney Spears as a "diss." Perhaps, considering their track record with word usage, they figured if they just threw both of them out there, one would stick and they wouldn't be completely wrong.
Anyway, Taylor Swift is a lot of things, but the girl ain't stupid. Do you think she doesn't know that her entire career is rooted in being the sweet, innocent, oft-victim of male actions? I've only heard like six of her songs and even I know that. And although I'm sure most would agree that Taylor Swift certainly indulges that role, Katy Perry is actually saying that it's the media and the public who run with it.
Her statement about Taylor and Kanye West is accurate, and hell, I doubt the two of them would disagree with her. Because we know there's bad blood between the two singers, I understand the urge to take everything they say about each other as negative, but this is a stretch.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: The New England Patriots had their victory parade on Wednesday and a number of the players acted like a bunch of overzealous, self-important asses—ya know, NFL players. Two players in particular took things to a particularly classless level by waving around "Bitch Mode" t-shirts—a play on Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch's "Beast Mode" brand.
The Defendant: The Score
The Deliberation: Good god, whoever wrote this is confused. Their use of "really subtle" is obviously sarcastic, but they clearly don't understand that subtlety is in the very definition of shade. The writers contradict themselves: a complete lack of subtlety can never be described as shade. This is a good reminder that you do not and should not use words that you don't understand, people.
Holding up a hastily-made T-shirt about a man who could literally drag you if he felt like it ain't shade. However, even though they embarrassed themselves with their utter ignorance of shade, the writers almost redeemed themselves at the end of their piece. They ended the story by simply including the statistics, without comment, of Marshawn Lynch and the two Patriots players who were taunting him.
Brandon Bolden: 634 rushing yards, six touchdowns, one Super Bowl
LeGarrette Blount: 3,258 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns, one Super Bowl
Marshawn Lynch: 8,695 rushing yards, 71 touchdowns, one Super Bowl
Now that is shade.
The Ruling: Not shade
Images via Getty. Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.