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Okay, so everyone knows that Taylor Swift has no problem calling out ex-boyfriends in her songs. The superstar made one of her most pointed barbs in history Sunday night at the 55th annual Grammy Awards, however, when she took what appeared to be an unmistakable shot at One Direction’s Harry Styles during her opening number.
Swift used the spoken bridge of her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” to seemingly slam her recent ex Styles, abruptly switching into an exaggerated English accent (Styles is British). “So he calls me up and he’s like ‘Ah still louve you,’” she drawled. “And I’m like 'I’m sorry, I’m busy opening up the Grammys…and we are never getting back together!'” Bam.
In addition to the indirect but hard-to-miss dis, Swift’s performance was aggressive in general. Her stage show featured a harried-looking actor playing the part of crushed boyfriend—whom a circus-ringmaster-garbed Swift spun around on a wheel, kicked over, and generally treated fiercely.
This isn’t the first time Swift’s taken the liberty of, well, for all intents and purposes barbecuing a boy in front of an audience of millions. Styles at least was spared the embarrassment of being called out by name: In 2009, Swift famously referenced ex Joe Jonas out during an appearance on Saturday Night Live: “Hey Joe. I'm doing real well. I'm hosting SNL.”
The Grammy-opening performance of “WANEGBT” differed remarkably from the singer’s last awards-show performance of the hit—namely, her appearance at the 2012 VMAs, where she gave a sunny, drama-free rendition of the tune dressed casually and backed up by a troupe of dancers in capris and sneakers. At the time, Swift was in the midst of a whirlwind romance with Conor Kennedy, son of American royalty Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Swift began dating Styles in late fall of 2012; the pair broke up abruptly in January 2013.