madonna vs taylor: battle of the cameos

As Madonna’s video premieres on Tidal, featuring Beyoncé, Miley, Kanye and more, we take a look at comparisons to Taylor’s girl gang and wonder what their choices say about them?

Jun 17 2015, 4:35pm

Madonna's new video has just premiered on Tidal and, as she revealed on Instagram yesterday, it features cameos from BeyoncéMiley CyrusKaty Perry, Rita Ora and Nicki Minaj, who also raps on the track. Madge didn't totally spoil us in advance, though, as her Bitch I'm Madonna video also includes surprise appearances from Kanye West, Chris Rock, Alexander Wang, the track's producer Diplo, and her sons Rocco and David. It's quite a line-up, even if the really big names like Beyoncé, Kanye and Miley clearly filmed their parts separately so they could be dropped in during the edit. Only Rita Ora, Chris Rock, Alexander Wang and Diplo actually appear alongside the Queen of Pop in the video, which finds her presiding over, well, a kind of ludicrous upscale frat party where all the cool kids are wearing Moschino.

Comparisons to Taylor Swift's similarly star-studded Bad Blood video, which premiered exactly a month ago today, are inevitable. But while the super-fans argue about who did it better, it's far more interesting to consider what Taylor and Madonna's choice of co-stars says about the way each artist perceives herself. Taylor's virtually all-female cast--so girl power, natch--unites her longtime squad members Selena Gomez and Ellie Goulding with a posse of today's hottest supermodels (Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldridge, Cara DelevingneGigi Hadid, Martha Hunt), trendy TV stars (Girls' Lena Dunham, Empire's Zendaya), an alternative rock singer (Paramore's Hayley Williams) and a few classy, more established celebrities (Cindy Crawford, Jessica Alba, Grey's Anatomy actress Ellen Pompeo). Not everyone in the video is a household name, but it doesn't feel as though anyone is there just to make up the numbers. Taylor emerges looking like a cool pop culture omnivore with her finger firmly on the pulse.

By contrast, Madonna has loaded her video with genuinely massive stars who are mainly famous for doing the same kind of thing she does, while also proving she's still capable of raiding the underground for creative inspiration by featuring Japanese dance duo Aya Sato and Bambi throughout. She's making the same point she made when she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the MTV VMAs in 2003: Bitch I'm Madonna, and I'm still on top.


Text Nick Levine