This year it is definitely the year of the pop princesses at Oxegen, with the big three of the moment – Lily Allen, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga – all keeping the tabloids happy. With the latter two playing sets on the big stages on Sunday, it’s irresistible to see their appearances as a face-off and judge them on their relative merits. However, what might have been a neck and neck finish quickly becomes a one horse race, as LADY GAGA‘s set on the main stage fizzles out in front of a disengaged audience who seem to be more interested in the various deranged activities going on in the mud than the metallic mistress’ icy showboating. Although some sort of groovy momentum is hit as she slides into the slick ‘Paparazzi’, the set feels too forced, too fiddly and too riddled with pauses and technical problems. If you have to keep adjusting your super-cool galactic costume, it doesn’t seem all that cool any more. When she sits down at a piano to warble a slowed down version of her mega-hit ‘Poker Face’, you realise that live she lacks that certain charisma a pop star needs to really fly.
KATY PERRY on the other hand is an absolute blast. Less pretentious than Gaga (you sense she knows the inherent ridiculousness of her songs) and as playful as hell, she wins over the crowd instantly with her cute pink leopard-skin looks and silly props which include plastic flamingos and inflatable fruit. Running backwards and forwards, hopping around and sometimes picking up a guitar you sense is also a prop, she gives the kids a sugary overdose of her chart straddling hits. A few cheeky girls in the audience take the lyrics to ‘I Kissed A Girl’ at face-value, much to the bug-eyed delight of the teenage lads nearby. Final score? Katy Perry one, Lady Gaga nil.