Singer Katy Perry attends the Z100 Jingle Ball concert at...

Singer Katy Perry attends the Z100 Jingle Ball concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Dec. 10, 2010) Credit: AP

Just as Lady Gaga started out an earnest singer-songwriter with a piano, Katy Perry began as something totally different -- a teenage gospel performer who dreamed of landing a hit on Christian-rock radio. Perry, who plays Nassau Coliseum Friday night, has since made a series of savvy moves, signing to major label Capitol Records and transforming herself into a sort of wacky, ditsy, Bettie Page pinup model with a great voice, powerful cleavage far too sexy for "Sesame Street" and a pop-star persona that refuses to fade after a few big hits, from "I Kissed a Girl" to "Teenage Dream." Caution: The following steps to stardom may not work for everyone.

1. She crossed over from praising God to kissing girls. Drawing from her strict Christian upbringing, in which she wasn't allowed to use the word "devil" in the house, she released her debut album as 15-year-old religious singer-songwriter Katy Hudson. (She changed it to her mother's maiden name to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson.) " 'No mother wants to see the top of her daughter's boobs," Mary Perry Hudson, an evangelical Christian, reportedly wrote in a recent book proposal.

2. She played with punk rockers just as she was taking off. Wearing pretty dresses and singing pop songs in her pretty voice, Perry appeared in 2008 on the same Warped Tour stage as the tattooed Horrorpops, performing her smash "I Kissed a Girl" to confused punk-rockers everywhere.

3. She wore potent bras. One fired whipped cream for the "California Gurls" video; another shot sparks during "Firework." For the former, she told MTV, she worked especially hard: "It was really intense with all that whipped cream coming from my back through my assets."

4. She cemented her diva credibility. Perry's people demanded that her backstage dressing room "be piped and draped in cream or soft pink" and furnished with "two Comfortable armchairs -- egg chairs, one with footstool, in cream," according to her 45-page rider, which The Smoking Gun leaked last month.

5. She exacted revenge. Performing at her alma mater, Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., last year, Perry publicly called out a kid called Shane Lopes. "You were the most popular kid in my class! But you never wanted to date me. It was always Amanda Wayne," she declared. "Oh, yeah, you really chose right, honey."


WHO Katy Perry

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 Friday night, Nassau Coliseum

INFO $41.50-$51.50; 800-745- 3000, ticketmaster.com

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