She might be lying in wait until Thursday, April 26, when she’ll drop the single (and, apparently, image overhaul) that’ll mark her first new release in two years, but it’s already been quite the packed week for Taylor Swift. After spending Monday night partying with Gigi Hadid, Swift headed to the 2019 edition of the Time 100 Gala on Tuesday, where she performed for the first time since November, when her Reputation world tour came to an end.
Perhaps as a swan song before becoming yet another “New Taylor,” Swift performed two of her more recent hits, “Style” and “Delicate,” on the acoustic guitar, as well as piano versions of “New Year’s Day,” “Shake It Off,” and “Love Story.” The latter, which she wrote at 17 and performed at the Time 100 Gala in 2010, prompted the 29-year-old to reminisce on her days as a teen, when she would sit alone in her room and “think about what love would be like and obviously overdramatize and romanticize it when I would write about it.”
In other words, besides staying true to her new pastel pink aesthetic, it was all classic Swift, meaning her fans’ current roster of conspiracy theories is no doubt about to get even less believable. (You can see the full performance here.)
There was, however, one major difference from Swift’s most recent performances: the crowd. Rather than a suburban stadium packed full of superfans, her audience on Tuesday night included none other than Jared Kushner, plus names as varied as Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Brie Larson, Gayle King, Naomi Campbell, Glenn Close, Nancy Pelosi, and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli. Rami Malek, Variety noted, was spotted dancing in his seat during Swift’s set, but she only had eyes for one audience member: “I know Sandra Oh is in the room, which shakes me to my very core. That’s my whole life there,” Swift said, referencing the hours upon hours she’s spent watching Grey’s Anatomy.
Needless to say, Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, who were also named on this year’s list, were not in attendance; nor was Shawn Mendes, who wrote the essay that accompanied Swift’s portrait in the issue. Luckily, if they’re having FOMO about getting to see Swift up close and personal, Martha Stewart has got their back. She posted a striking series of closeups of Swift, whom she described as “eloquent and charming.” She also gave a mini recap of her performance, adding that Swift “sang her songs as only she does.”