Katy Perry Says You’ve Been Singing The Wrong Words To “Firework” For 12 Years
“It’s not up, up, up,” she says. It’s “A-W-E ... Get it right! It’s not fireworks, it’s ‘Firework.’”
Some people — including country singer Luke Bryan — are still flubbing the lyrics to Katy Perry’s 2008 smash hit “Firework” 12 years after she released it. On the March 6 episode of American Idol Season 20, Perry was relaxing in between auditions with fellow judges Bryan and Lionel Richie, when Bryan poked fun at her song. After delivering an off-key rendition of the chorus, the 13-time Grammy nominee cleared the air. “It’s not up, up, up, and it’s not ah, ah, ah,” Perry explained.
Bryan, dumbfounded, then asked, “What is it then because I’ve been dying to know all these years?” After pausing to consider Bryan’s sassiness and her answer, Perry set the record straight, saying, “It’s awe, awe, awe, everybody. Get it right!” Perry added that the title of the track is “Firework” — singular, not plural — because people have been getting that wrong as well.
The pop superstar shared the interaction on her Instagram, captioning the video with, “FOR THE OFFICIAL RECORD ☝🏻 • it is AWE not UP • it is FIREWORK not FIREWORKSSS.” She also included a second image to help explain the lyric. Novelist Jack Kerouac inspired Perry and her co-writers Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen (known as the duo Stargate), Sandy Wilhelm (aka Sandy Vee), and Ester Dean. In his book On The Road, he includes the following paragraph:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, ‘Awww!’”
The long-running confusion is easy to understand, as a few of the words Perry sings in “Firework” are a bit garbled. In fact, even lyric-focused website Genius features both spellings for the song: “Make ’em go, aah, aah, aah / You’re gonna leave them all in awe, awe, awe.”
“Firework” went straight to No. 1 in 2008 in several countries, including the United States, where it became her fourth chart-topper and her third from her blockbuster album Teenage Dream. That album would go on to produce five No. 1 hits, helping the singer tie with Michael Jackson for the most leaders from one album. “Firework” has been certified 12-times platinum by the RIAA for shifting at least 12 million copies in America alone, making it one of the most successful releases ever. It was nominated for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2012 Grammys, though Perry lost both categories to Adele.