No matter how inevitable a song like "California Gurls" sounds, there are no guarantees, even at the highest levels of pop stardom (see Christina Aguilera's career-jeopardizing 2010 superbomb, Bionic). For Madonna or even Britney, changing one's look or sound every album cycle was enough. No more. Largely thanks to Gaga, everything has accelerated. Perry knows she can't quite keep up with that pace. So instead, she's cruising in the wake, comfortably alternating between looking like a blue-haired Smurfette, a Bettie Page acolyte, and Zooey Deschanel. But superstardom is more than an infinite clothes rack; it's about being untouchable and universal at once.

You can't help loving Katy
Emma Summerton
You can't help loving Katy

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Y100 Jingle BallWith Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Enrique Iglesias, Train, the Script, Selena Gomez, Jay Sean, Flo Rida, Taio Cruz, and B.o.B. 7 p.m. Saturday, December 11, at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Tickets cost $43.75 to $143.75 plus fees. Visit ticketmaster.com.

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"I don't want people to see that I'm a human being," Gaga has said. Katy Perry doesn't have that problem.

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