Unless you live under a rock (or you’re just completely oblivious to pop music), you’ve probably heard that Taylor Swift — New York-loving cat lady and currently the world’s biggest pop superstar — has been teasing her highly anticipated music video for “Bad Blood,” the fourth single off of 1989. The video finally premiered tonight at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, and it’s arguably one of her best yet. It’s not exactly a “Thriller 2.0,” but this Joseph Kahn-directed video is a visual feast and the star-studded ensemble is sure to have you pressing replay.
The video begins with Tay Tay as protagonist Catastrophe (get it? CAT-astrophe?) and real life BFF Selena Gomez as Arsyn fighting off goons together while looking fabulous in an office that looks just like the office where Britney Spears‘ also Joseph Khan-directed “Womanizer” took place. We see you, Mr. Khan.
And everything seems just fine and girl power until Arsyn decides to be a total bitch and kicks Catastrophe out of the window. Rude. Our heroine falls and lands perfectly on a car in a fierce pose because of course, before being taken down to a futuristic lab run by Welvin Da Great, played by Kendrick Lamar, who appears on the single version remix of “Bad Blood.”
“I don’t hate you but I hate to critique, overrate you / These beats of a dark heart, use basslines to replace you,” he sneers over the pounding beat, effectively taking the soft verses and making them a bit more fit for a dark action affair. We also have Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori smoking in the back as a disenchanted hype man. This video’s already turning out to be an amazing affair, giving us teas from Danity Kane‘s “Damaged” and Kanye West‘s “Stronger.”
As Catastrophe prepares for a round two with Arsyn, all of her girlfriends tag along to help train for the big battle. First off, in a Tron: Legacy visual reference, Pitch Perfect 2 star Hailee Steinfield as The Trinity; a set of triplets who help Catastrophe with the warrior essential: a stunning outfit.
The cast is amazing, featuring the likes of Empire diva Serayah McNeil, and English pop star Ellie Goulding, but our personal favorite from the bunch is Zendaya appearing as Cut-Throat — a savage knife-wielding badass who has absolutely no time for your soft teddy bear bullshit today. Incredible.
Oh, and then there’s Taylor’s model girlfriends, which include Victoria’s Secret Angels Lily Aldridge and Martha Hunt, supermodel Cara Delevingne, and another Angel Karlie Kloss as Knockout, who faces off Catastrophe in an intense boxing match in front of a crowd of delighted female fighters.
Also amazing? The inclusion of Mariska Hargitay as Justice and Ellen Pompeo as Luna. The real-life actresses play Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy, respectively. The two shows happen to be favorite’s of Ms. Swift, so adored to the point that she named both of her cats after the actresses’ characters. The world is a wonderful place.
And inexplicably but incredibly we have the iconic Cindy Crawford as the Headmistress, who gives Catastrophe a nod of approval before she heads to war.
The final hour. Catastrophe and her band of queens walk through a wasteland in front of an explosion — instantly iconic. Cat’s also rocking the red hair and cat eye, looking like Britney Spears in the (again) Joseph Khan-directed video for “Toxic.”
We never really find out what happens in the battle, but time is the ultimate truth-teller, and we’re hoping this is the beginning of Taylor’s very own “Paparazzi”/”Telephone” storyline. What an amazing way to kick off the week, and what an amazing way for Taylor to show and expand her artistry while making her stamp on the industry. One thing is for sure: Don’t trust a Regina George in sheep’s clothing.
Bonus: Check out all the “Bad Blood” posters!
1989 was released on October 27 (iTunes)
Gifs: Brandon Joseph/Poison Paradise