Katy Perry Gets Patriotic With ‘California Gurls,’ ‘Firework’ For ‘VH1 Divas’

The pop star traded whipped cream for stars and stripes as she saluted the troops.

It was that fitting [artist id="3274550"]Katy Perry[/artist] did a live version her joyously inescapable summer smash “California Gurls” for the service men and women at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego for “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops,” and then closed the night out with “Firework.”

Earlier in the show, Perry performed “California Gurls,” the song not only propelled her to the top of the charts in 2010 (it spent six consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100) and helped her snag one of her four Grammy nominations earlier this week (“Gurls” garnered Perry and her musical partner Snoop Dogg a nom for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals), but it’s an unconventional love letter to the very state where the show was taking place.

(Click here to see photos from “VH1 Divas Salute The Troops”.)

The never-subtle singer left her whipped-cream-shooting bra at home (perhaps it’s not terribly useful in combat?) and arrived onstage via a stars-and-stripes parachute dressed head to toe in red, white, and blue attire.

Perry’s onstage antics while performing “Gurls” on previous shows, like the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, have always been fitting of the bubblegum pop ditty, and her “Divas” set was no different. Snoop may have been regrettably MIA, but Perry had a set of scantily clad backup singers and dancers to help elevate her.

Despite a slight crack in her voice during the song’s rising “Ohhh-oh-oh”s, “California Gurls” still got a warm reception and melted more than a few popsicles in San Diego.

For Sunday’s show, Perry also found time to recall ’40s glam with Keri Hilson and Jennifer Nettles for a cover of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and ’80s pop with Nicki Minaj for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” But that was hardly the end of Perry’s marathon evening, as the pop star did another, final outfit change to perform “Firework.” Looking rather Jessica Rabbit-esque in a bombshell-red, sparkly dress paired long red gloves, Perry tapped into the emotional tune, which took on a whole new meaning with this particular crowd.

While the song is less an ode to patriotism as it is to individuality, lyrics like “Just own the night/ Like the 4th of July,” and “Come on, let your colors burst” turned out to be unexpectedly apropos of the event.

The show-stopper felt even more patriotic when paired with the footage of, naturally, fireworks exploding in the background. Not one to fizzle out, Perry (who was once again joined by backup singers and dancers) eventually had onstage pyrotechnics and actual fireworks lighting up the night sky.

“Firework” which currently resides at the #1 spot on digital download charts, also feels like Perry’s most personal single of her Teenage Dream album to date, something that was quite evident in her final, shining performance of the night.

What did you think of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” and “Firework” performances? Let us know in the comments below.

Watch bonus performances, browse photos, read all about the most-talked about moments, and find out how you can salute the troops at VH1′s “Divas Salute the Troops” hub.