Swifties have been counting down the days (as has Taylor Swift herself, on her Facebook account) until the release of her...well, it's kind of tame to call it "eagerly awaited" fourth record, Red. Now the record of the year is finally available this week, but that's not the end of "treats" Swift has for fans this fall. The pop/country superstar recently taped an episode of Vh1's Storytellers, which will be airing early next month and is a must-see for fans as it provides a rare--if fleeting--look at the singer in a different light.
One thing that set this particular performance apart from Swift's many other appearances is the venue: A college auditorium. Southern California's Harvey Mudd College--known for its brainy engineering, science and math majors--won a contest to host Swift at its campus. The school shares grounds with the contiguous Claremont Colleges (five undergraduate and two graduate schools altogether) and students from the entire system were welcome to attend. The night was nicely geared toward college-kid interests: Free pizzas, as well as samples from Swift's corporate alliances Cover Girl and American Greetings, were handed out as the coeds filed into the auditorium.
Swift herself did not reveal any big secrets during the night--she performed three already released singles from Red, as well as six other hits--and seemed almost embarrassed by the fact that she, well, had to tell yet more stories about...you got it, relationships. No big revelations there, either--any Swift fan will be familiar with her explanations behind each tune. Hoping to hear something juicy about Conor Kennedy? Sorry.
Far more interesting than Swift's somewhat rote tales of the songs she performed was her interaction with the crowd. An audience composed largely of kids near her own age (Swift is 22) seemed to be a refreshing catalyst for the already preternaturally upbeat Swift to get extra bubbly. "I am so glad I get to hang out with you!" she crowed multiple times, and seemed to truly become the most personal when answering questions from the audience.
So, we all know that "Mean" is about a mean critic that annoyed Swift. But did you know that she actually fears "spiders...and people getting tired of me"? She also wished an audience member a happy 19th birthday, noting "Nineteen is awesome; 20 is weird." (Dissect that one, Swifties.)
One of her more poignant moments came when discussing if she'd ever regretted not attending college. The always-poised Swift seemed a little knocked off base, and answered thoughtfully, noting that "College was a vivid pretty daydream" and that she'd walked through Nashville's Vanderbilt campus in the past wondering what-if. However, she ended with the conclusion that she "couldn't bear not playing onstage every night."
Swift also admired the handwritten posters that were held up, noting that she loves to make posters too. At the end of the night, she encouraged the crowd to scream along with a warbled "We-e-e-e-e!" during "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
Yet another moment in the show that fans may or may not see on the actual televised episode: The crowd of college dudes in the balcony who serenaded Swift by all taking their shirts off at once and grooving to the music. Swift did not comment, but it was clear she noticed--and, like any normal 22-year-old girl out there, found it pretty amusing.
Taylor Swift's Vh1 Storytellers episode will air November 11 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.