VMAs: Taylor Swift Refuses to Jump in "Shake It Off" Debut Performance
Referencing Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" snafu: "All kinds of people getting bit by snakes, it's dangerous!"
Taylor Swift can sure shake it off, but she won't be jumping off anytime soon.
Fully embracing her new status as a pop singer, Swift shook up the Forum stage during her MTV Video Music Awards performance on Sunday night.
Dressed in a shimmering silver two-piece, Swift hit the stage with a crew of male dancers in suits and female dancers in matching charcoal-colored outfits. When she found herself standing atop a massive "1989" sign and appeared as if she was about to jump off into her crowd of dancers, the music suddenly paused.
"I don't care if it's the VMAs, I'm not jumping off there," she said, disappearing out of view and then referencing Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" dancer snafu during rehearsals. "All kinds of people getting bit by snakes, it's dangerous!" She then appeared in front of the sign, among her dancers, and the number resumed.
Swift was introduced by good friend Lorde. "On the surface, this next performer and I have nothing in common: She's tall, blonde and doesn't wear this much black," the "Royals" singer said before explaining that they both write music from a very real place.
Swift's friend and frequent collaborator Ed Sheeran praised the singer's performance backstage — "I liked the humor a little bit" — and even commented on her official transition from country to pop, a move he said "happened two years ago."
"Shake It Off" reunites Swift with pop music masters Max Martin and Shellback, who also co-wrote and produced "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" off 2012's Red. "People can say what they want about us, at any time ... and we cannot control that," she said of the new single during its livestream debut. "The only thing we can control is our reaction to it. I figure we have two options: We can let it change [us] ... option two is you just shake it off."
The singer's VMAs performance came less than a week after her highly touted announcement of the single and corresponding music video, as well as her upcoming fifth studio album (and first-ever pop album), 1989, out Oct. 27 via Big Machine Records. The stage spectacle also followed the opening of The Giver, in which she briefly appears as the titular character's (Jeff Bridges) former protege Rosemary. Swift will also perform at iHeartRadio's annual fest at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 19-20.
Beyonce, also the recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, leads this year's pack with eight nominations, including video of the year and best female video.
Watch Swift's full performance below:
Philiana Ng contributed to this report.