Taylor Swift has seven shows left in her 1989 world tour. Who will she bring out?

On the final leg of her mammoth 1989 World Tour, Swift has just seven more chances to cement new and public friendships. We assess the likely candidates

With more than 5.3m copies sold in the year after its release, it’s just about easier to remember the actual events of 1989 than it is the world before Taylor Swift’s album.

The world media’s spotlight has been shone, apparently unerringly, on Swift – her friends, her boyfriend, her cats and public spats, even her potential whereabouts – for more than a year.

But an end – or at least a reprieve – is in sight.

After more than six months on the road, Swift is now entering the final leg of the tour: seven dates in Australia, starting with her only Sydney show on Saturday. Her third Melbourne show, on December 12, will likely be her last for some time. She has told reporters she intends to take time off in 2016.

“I think people might need a break from me,” she said to NME. And to GQ: “I monitor what people say about me, and if I see a theme, I know what that means.”

While Swift was once ridiculed for writing songs about her experience of dating men her own age, the joke for 2015 has been her high-profile friendships. They often drop by the 1989 World Tour stage,including relatively obscure cameos: the Texan rapper Nelly, the US women’s national soccer team, Lakers basketballer Kobe Bryant, Chris Rock, Julia Roberts and Joan Baez, not one but two members of the central cast of Friends.

she's taking the piss pic.twitter.com/IS5Ypd1RGA

— Elle Hunt (@mlle_elle) August 24, 2015

A viral video of a young woman parodying Swift’s celebrity guest spots (“Please welcome to the stage... the hologram of Maya Angelou! The fabulous 51 victims of Bill Cosby! The women survivors of Isis!”) and a subsequent SNL sketch reflected the opinion that there was something performative, if not outright calculating about Swift’s alliances.

Lara Marie Schoenhals on YouTube: “After seeing Joan Baez and Julia Roberts come on stage at Taylor Swift Swift’s Santa Clara show, I came up with some predictions for the random cameos that might occur at her upcoming LA concerts”

Seven shows left of the 1989 World Tour means just seven more opportunities for Swift to cement new and public friendships – and, as she retreats from the spotlight for the first half of 2016 (and, god willing, perhaps a bit of the second), these are lasting impressions that she’ll leave in the year she dominated all media. Swift has established herself someone who pays close attention to the minutiae of her brand; she’ll know, at this crucial juncture, she can’t put a foot wrong.

So, who will Taylor Swift bring out on stage at her Australian shows? We assess the likely candidates – and a couple of curveballs.

Troye Sivan

The Perth pop star is a likely candidate given that he has already benefited from the coveted Swift co-sign. The two had a public love-in on Twitter in September, when Swift endorsed the 20-year-old’s Wild EP to her then-63 million followers as “STUNNING AND AWESOME”. (She now has 66.6m.)

But on Thursday night Sivan was performing in Berlin alongside fellow Australian Tkay Maidza – meaning that if he does put in an appearance on Swift’s stage, it won’t be in Sydney on Saturday.

Ed Sheeran

Sheeran is a well-established member of the Swift stable, with documentation of their text exchanges, domestic hang-outs and mutual appreciation of cats often listed as the definition of “#friendshipgoals”. Swift (or a representative of Swift; no shade, it’s the thought that counts), made Sheeran a needlepoint referencing Drake’s Started From The Bottom; Sheeran describes Swift as a “brilliant wingman”. It’s either aspirational or nauseating, depending on how tough the week’s been, or where you’re at in your menstrual cycle.

Stars: they’re just like us.

Sheeran and Swift have collaborated in the past – first on a hit for her Red album, then he supported her for the North American leg of the subsequent tour. Plus, he has the advantage of being in Australia – at least as of Thursday night, when he attended the Aria awards.

Calvin Harris

According to Swift’s Instagram profile, the Scottish DJ has been her boyfriend since March. Though he has attended the 1989 World Tour, he has not appeared on stage. This could be construed one of three ways: he doesn’t want to; she doesn’t want him to; or that the couple are “on the rocks” – or even that they never existed outside of a contractual agreement to dethrone Beyoncé and Jay-Z as the highest-paid celebrity couple.

If Swift is keen to put the persistent latter strand to rest, an appearance on the 1989 World Tour stage would cement her relationship with Harris at least to the level that it did with Joan Baez and Chris Rock. We know that he is in the Antipodes; the two were apparently photographed having breakfast together in Queenstown, New Zealand, on Friday before Swift crossed the Tasman in her private jet.


American DJ and producer Diplo is one of the best-known antagonists of Taylor Swift, having likened her fandom to “an army that’s worse than North Korea” and started a tasteless Kickstarter campaign to raise her a “booty” (for which he was masterfully rebuked by Lorde).

But since the feud of 2014, he has expressed regret of sorts, stating in March: “one of the biggest mistakes of my career was definitely fucking with her”. At the same time, his star as both a producer and member of Major Lazer has definitely risen, the latter’s track Lean On breaking Spotify streaming records earlier this month.

Major Lazer is performing in Sydney on the same night as Swift; if they can work out the time clash, and if Swift can find forgiveness in her heart, an appearance on stage might serve to both bury the hatchet and align their rising stars.

Lee Lin Chin

SBS personality Lee Lin Chin on Tuesday volunteered to join Swift on stage, describing herself as Australia’s “premiere ‘bad bitch’”. Though the tweet received more than 2,000 favourites, Swift had yet to respond.

Dear @taylorswift13, I've been informed you have "bad bitches" join you on stage. I am Australia's premiere "bad bitch"... let's do this.

— Lee Lin Chin (@LeeLinChinSBS) November 24, 2015

The veteran actors of Belvoir theatre company

In August, Taylor Swift granted an 11th-hour appeal to Sydney’s Belvoir theatre company, tweeting them permission to use her song Shake It Off in their production of Seventeen – about a group of 17-year-olds, played by veteran actors, on their last day of school. A music publisher had denied an earlier request, days before opening night.

But Belvoir had done Swift a favour as much as the other way around. The exchange helped to reaffirm her status as a benevolent and all-seeing presence, and distract from some unpleasantness two weeks prior – her public misunderstanding with Nicki Minaj over MTV Video Music award nominations.

Swift could invite the elderly cast of Seventeen to reprise their dance to Shake It Off – described by the director as “a brilliant thing to witness” – with her on stage. What’s a good deed if you can’t bring it up three months later?

Jeremy the koala

Taylor Swift loves to champion an underdog, and there have been few sights quite as pathetic in 2015 as a koala wearing mittens. Jeremy the koala became the face of the Adelaide Hills bushfires at the start of the year after a photo of him face down and with his scalded paws immersed in containers of sodium chloride was shared on social media. He might not be much help on stage, but he wouldn’t overshadow her, either.

Then again – in one of the stranger rumours around the celebrity this year – Taylor Swift’s legs are reportedly insured for $40m. Swift’s cat Meredith already infringed this earlier this year; now that he has been restored to full health, Jeremy could do some real damage.

Swift’s legs are reportedly insured for $40m. Swift’s cat wasn’t to know.

The hologram of Maya Angelou

For her last performance of 2015, it would not be out of the question for Taylor Swift to reference that viral video of Lara Marie Schoenhals’. It would not be the first time she has explicitly referenced a joke about herself on the internet.

I’m not saying she’s going to introduce the hologram of Maya Angelou when she takes the stage in Melbourne. I’m saying it’s something she might try to do.

  • I do not speak for Taylor Swift and cannot claim to know her mind.


Elle Hunt

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Taylor Swift swan frolic prompts huge expansion in sales of inflatables
Demand for designer pool accessories - from doughnuts to unicorns - soars as shoppers splash out on social media props

Zoe Wood

08, Jul, 2017 @9:00 AM

Article image
Take back control: Taylor Swift shows the media how it's done | Jane Martinson
The phrase has been tarnished by politicians, but it is still meaningful and the singer is its musical apotheosis

Jane Martinson

10, Dec, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Love the game: Drake and Taylor Swift's decade in pop dominance
Since 2009, Drake has become a cross-genre streaming star, while Swift’s glow-up has transformed her into a blockbuster brand – and their co-command of ‘pop 2.0’ isn’t wavering yet

Michael Cragg

29, Nov, 2019 @2:40 PM

Article image
Taylor Swift announces details of 1989 world tour
Including her first live show in Scotland and a Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park headline slot, her 2015 tour starts in Louisiana in May

Guardian music

03, Nov, 2014 @2:42 PM

Article image
Demanding Taylor Swift dump Matty Healy? Fan culture is out of control | Shaad D'Souza
Swift superfans may not like her rumoured new boyfriend, but she deserves to have a life of her own, says culture writer Shaad D’Souza

Shaad D'Souza

30, May, 2023 @11:00 AM

Article image
Calvin Harris criticises 'hurtful' Taylor Swift in row over hit song
She wrote the lyrics but I did the rest, says DJ, after magazine credits ex-girlfriend as writer of This Is What You Came For, his collaboration with Rihanna

Guardian staff and agencies

14, Jul, 2016 @2:37 AM

Article image
Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris and the fine art of the digital breakup
The former couple’s lack of social media decorum following the tabloid reveal of Swift’s new relationship with Tom Hiddleston raises the question: what are we actually doing when we untag or delete photos of our exes?

Moira Weigel

16, Jun, 2016 @12:21 PM

Article image
Taylor Swift 'booty' diss by Diplo inspires Lorde's wrath
Producer annoys singer by tweeting that ‘someone should make a Kickstarter to get Taylor Swift a booty’

Lanre Bakare

13, Nov, 2014 @6:20 PM

Article image
How to get Taylor Swift tickets in Australia: what you need to know about the Eras tour Sydney and Melbourne shows
Here’s everything we know so far about the Eras 2024 shows

Natasha May

30, Jun, 2023 @12:42 AM

Article image
Taylor Swift: extra tickets added with two more shows in Sydney and Melbourne announced
After an estimated 4 million people queued online for tickets on Wednesday the US pop star has announced two more Australian concert dates

Guardian staff

28, Jun, 2023 @10:22 PM