Madonna and Lady Gaga had their very own episodes, but Katy Perry could very well be the unofficial queen of “Glee.” Her music has found its way to the immensely popular series three times this season, twice this week alone, for some pretty big moments.
Her hit “Teenage Dream” got a second life as newcomer Darren Criss turned it into the show’s fastest-selling single yet last fall. Then came this Sunday’s post-Super Bowl episode , in which her ubiquitous summer song “California Gurls” set the scene for the Cheerios’ over-the-top opening number.
Now, her chart-topping latest single, “Firework,” has gotten the royal treatment from Ryan Murphy, when Lea Michele took a crack at the self-esteem anthem in Tuesday night’s Valentine’s Day episode, titled “Silly Love Songs.” When Rachel (Michele) realized she had to let the notion of her and Finn (Cory Monteith) go, she burst into a rendition of the song.
The third single off Perry’s Grammy-nominated album Teenage Dream, “Firework” has taken off like a shot with fans. Released on October 26, 2010, it’s already spent 15 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 (it hit #1 on that chart, Billboard’s Pop Songs, Dance/Club Songs, the Canadian Hot 100 and the Digital Songs list) and has helped Perry earn three consecutive chart-topping singles.
Perhaps making the success that much sweeter, Perry has called “Firework” one of her most personal songs yet (she also credits Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” as inspiration for the track). The singer — who penned the pop ditty along with Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Sandy Wilhelm and Ester Dean — told MTV News that she felt the song “has a fantastic message.”
In fact, the track’s positive message (“Baby, you’re a firework/ Come on let your colors burst”) as well as its showy music video (which was filmed in Budapest, where Perry leads various troubled youths to a brighter outlook (fireworks not-so-subtly springing forth from their chests), became one of the unofficial anthems for the “It Gets Better” campaign.
In the wake of the tragic string of bully-related gay teen suicides, “It Gets Better” was launched to reach out to young people who had found themselves in that very situation. Perry tweeted upon the clip’s release, “I am officially dedicating my new video to #itgetsbetter, because everyone has the spark to be a FIREWORK.”
A cappella groups Ithacappella and Premium Blend joined forces to raise money for the Trevor Project, which funds a suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth, by singing “Firework.” The charity cover single is currently available on iTunes.
Meanwhile, Perry will take “Firework” on the road with her, as she heads out on her world California Gurls Tour with opening acts Robyn and New Young Pony Club. Mrs. Russell Brand has already sung the track for a number of televised occasions, including talk shows like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the “Late Show With David Letterman,” as well as events such as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops.”
With or without Perry present, the song has been cropping up everywhere over the past few months. In addition to “Glee,” the tune can be heard in ads for the latest season of “American Idol,” commercials for the new Wii game “Just Dance 2,” and in the previews for the upcoming film starring AnnaSophia Robb and Carrie Underwood, “Soul Surfer.”