• Entertainment

Madonna and Taylor Swift’s Joint Performance Was the Best Sort of Collaboration

L ast night, Madonna acted out one of her best-known recent tricks: Enlisting a younger performer to grant her music some extra currency. In a televised performance of her new single “Ghosttown,” the performer was supported by Taylor Swift on guitar. It was the most memorable moment from the iHeartRadio Music Awards (whatever those may be) and of Madonna’s recent promotional campaign for her new album. Though the star is often criticized for her work with younger artists, her performance with Swift was, in fact, the very best sort of collaboration.

Madonna’s past few years have seen her, probably more often than is flattering, team up with stars of more recent vintage; her 2012 Super Bowl halftime show was ceded in large part to flavor-of-the-minute band LMFAO and bird-flipping scene-stealer M.I.A., while her appearance on Miley Cyrus’s MTV Unplugged taping felt undercooked. And some of Madonna’s earnest attempts to explore what’s hip out there, from her EDM-inflected 2012 album MDNA to her asking Miley Cyrus to introduce her at the Grammys as “our b—,” have seemed embarrassingly out-of-touch.

But criticisms of Madonna for working with younger artists tend to skip over the particulars of the collaborations right to broad-brush condemnation of a woman over 40 trying to stay contemporary. It’s been that way since Madonna’s performance with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 Video Music Awards, a brilliant piece of stagecraft that effectively anointed Spears and Aguilera as Madonna’s successors. A musical generation later, Madonna chose the perfect collaborator for a country-tinged pop anthem about heartbreak.

And Swift, lost in the music, seemed legitimately excited to be onstage with Madonna: Why shouldn’t she be? Madonna’s ability to reinvent her sound and her image has provided precedent for any number of pop stars, including one who recent switched genres entirely. Perhaps the issue, among those who critique Madonna’s work with a younger cohort, is one of framing. Madonna is subjected to all the same criticisms as a pop star under 30, “desperation” and a perpetually oscillating level of “relevance” chief among them. When Paul McCartney, by contrast, performs with stars like Rihanna and Kanye West, it’s not a sign of his desperation to stay hip, because he’s a legacy artist perceived as earnestly interested in what’s out there these days.

Where’s the same generosity of spirit when it comes to Madonna? When her album Rebel Heart missed the number-one spot on the Billboard charts (and her heavily promoted first single, “Living for Love,” missed the charts entirely), the schadenfreude was thick in the air, despite the fact that it’s no one’s baseline expectation that a new album by McCartney, or Prince, or Mick Jagger, would automatically become a hit. Madonna’s fame, though, has always been tied to a snooty assumption that her music is more popular than good, and thus it only matters if it’s popular.

But maybe it’s time to give her her due as an artist, not just a hit machine. Madonna has entered a phase of her career where statistics don’t necessarily matter, but where cementing her legacy absolutely does. Rebel Heart exists not to become a top-selling album but to prove she has a place in today’s pop-music ecosystem; not every one of its, or Madonna’s, attempts to prove contemporary savvy come across perfectly, but in general, the fact that we’re paying attention at all proves a point. Given Swift’s obvious willingness to perform with Madonna, and the degree to which their collaboration worked, the point seems made.

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Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift's Surprise Duet

Updated on 3/31/2015 at 1:30 PM

Madonna and Taylor Swift busted out a surprise duet at this weekend's iHeartRadio Music Awards, performing Madonna's new single, "Ghosttown," from her new album, Rebel Heart . Madonna sang while a visibly stoked Swift played guitar, and at the end, they came together to rock out the big finish. It feels pretty meaningful to see two huge icons collaborating, so check out the video now and then watch Rihanna performing her new single !

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iHeartRadio Music Awards: Taylor Swift Backs Up Madonna on ‘Ghosttown’ (Video)

The night’s big winner plays guitar on the Queen of Pop’s latest single on Sunday’s show

Jethro Nededog

Both Madonna and Taylor Swift can hold a stage by themselves just fine, but together they delivered one of the biggest thrills of Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Swift, who won the most awards on Sunday , and her guitar accompanied Madonna on her single “Ghosttown.” That was the extent of Swift’s contribution, staying back for most of the performance on a stool before moving upstage to join Madonna for the last chorus of the song.

The young singer has been a longtime fan of Madonna ‘s. A couple months ago, she freaked out after receiving a compliment from the pop icon.

“Thanks now I’m dead,” she wrote on Tumblr.

“Ghosttown” is the second single from Madonna ‘s 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart.” It climbed to No. 21 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.

Watch the performance.

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Madonna & Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' at the iHeartRadio Awards: Here Are the 8 Best Moments!

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

It has finally happened!

After crowning Taylor Swift a princess of pop, and comparing the 1989 singer to herself in Rolling Stone, Madonna and Taylor took the stage together at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards!

The 56-year old icon and the 25-year-old soon-to-be icon, performed "Ghosttown" off Madonna's new album Rebel Heart , and it was a much more subdued performance than we are accustomed to from Madge -- probably because when you have Taylor and Madonna on stage at the same time, you really don't need anything else. At all. You're done.

WATCH: Madonna Compares Taylor Swift To Herself

It was a pretty life changing 4-ish minutes. Here are the eight best moments.

1. When we could only see the back of Taylor Swift's head but we knew what was up.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

You can't hide Taylor from us iHeartRadio, we know our Taylor!!

2. How they were sitting back to back in matching stockings like a couple of badasses.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

We don't usually make wild predictions, but this WILL be on sale as a nostalgia poster in 2033. Probably definitely.

3. When Taylor Swift's hair straight up lioned out.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

This may have only been for a split second, but it was fierce, and now it's immortalized.

4. When they stood up it was somehow more badass than when they were sitting.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

One performance has now given us TWO 2033 nostalgia posters!

5. Madonna had to fall to her knees.

Probably under the weight of how awesome this is.

6. When you realize there is no stopping them.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

This is now a moment that has occurred in the world and it's our responsibility to know it.

7. And is Madonna going in for another Madonna-Britney kiss moment??

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Generations will define themselves by which pop star they remember Madonna kissing at an awards show.

8. And then they just walked away like they knew.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

You're welcome, world.

Watch the whole performance here.

This is awesome. Let's get a tour going or something so this can happen again.

Watch Madonna compare Taylor Swift to herself below!

Madonna Compares Taylor Swift To Herself!

What's Hot

Madonna and taylor swift were two souls in a 'ghosttown' at the iheartradio music awards.

Matthew Jacobs

Senior Entertainment Reporter, HuffPost

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: iHEARTRADIO MUSIC AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Recording artists Madonna and Taylor Swift perform onstage at the iHeartRadio Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. -- (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)

Sunday's iHeartRadio Music Awards teased a surprise during Madonna's performance, and a surprise she did deliver: Taylor Swift turned up to play acoustic guitar on Madonna's new single, " Ghosttown ." With the duo starting side by side on stools, the number began as an intimate, light-some-candles-and-sway ballad and turned into an electrifying meeting of the souls -- specifically the souls of the biggest pop star of the moment and the biggest pop star of all time . Not just anyone can book Taylor Swift as a backup guitarist, after all.

Both singers posted joyful reactions on Instagram after the performance:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:03pm PDT

Madonna reappeared shortly thereafter to present Swift with Song of the Year , which she won for "Shake It Off":

madonna

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"Like a Prayer" (1989)

Ranking Madonna's Singles

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Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift Blow the Lid off the iHeartRadio Awards

By Joanna Robinson

Taylor Swift is one of the most famous and successful musicians working today. So you have to be a pretty big deal to get away with having Swift just play back up for you. But make no mistake, that’s exactly what Madonna is and always has been: a pretty big deal.

The duo took to the stage on Sunday night at the iHeartRadio Awards to perform Madonna’s song “Ghost Town” with her Madgesty on vocals and Swift strumming the life out of her acoustic guitar. This isn’t the first time Madonna has enticed a younger pop star on stage with her. Christina, Britney , Miley , etc., we’ve seen it all before. And, yes, like other young pop stars before her, Taylor went a little edgier with her style in order to keep up with Madonna, mirroring the pop queen’s lace-top stockings and garter look. But since this is sweet pop princess Swift we’re talking about, there was no repeat of the famous 2003 incident with Brit, Madonna, and Christina . The pair opted instead for a more chaste peck on the cheek.

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Before leaving the stage.

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Let’s hope this only the first of many collaborations between Madonna and Swift because Madge would absolutely kill “Blank Space.”

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Watch Madonna, Taylor Swift Perform ‘Ghosttown’ at iHeartRadio Awards

By Daniel Kreps

Daniel Kreps

The 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards promised there would be “unexpected collaborations”  between the marquee artists attending the Los Angeles event, and the ceremony didn’t disappoint as Taylor Swift  joined Madonna  for an acoustic rendition of the Rebel Heart  singer’s new single “Ghosttown.”

After the huge spectacles Madonna brought to her Grammy  and ( ill-fated ) Brit Awards performances of “Living for Love,” the singer, armed with just a few stools, employed a minimal stage setup. Swift, on acoustic guitar, helped deliver a powerful, poignant rendition of the apocalyptic track before the black lace-wearing pair were joined by a large backing band for the single’s final minutes. Following the performance, Madonna tweeted , “My new favorite guitar player! Thank you Taylor!”

The Madonna/Swift collaboration headlined a night of huge performances at the Shrine Auditorium, including Rihanna ‘s live debut of her new single “Bitch Better Have My Money.”  Draped in a shamrock green fur coat with matching boots and sunglasses, the singer shared her Kanye West-produced trap-infused club song in front of an active helicopter and an army of dancers.

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ghosttown madonna taylor swift

About Ghosttown

"Ghosttown" is a song recorded by American singer Madonna for her thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart (2015). It was released to radio stations on March 13, 2015, as the album's second single. The song was written by Madonna, Jason Evigan, Evan Bogart, and Sean Douglas, and produced by Madonna, Billboard and Evigan. Madonna had listened to Douglas' previous works and had requested studio time with him. Together with the other songwriters, they wrote "Ghosttown" in three days. A pop ballad, the song was inspired by the imagery of a destroyed city after armageddon, and how the survivors carry on with their lives, with love being the only thing they can hold onto. An uplifting track, "Ghosttown" features an organ and drums in its instrumentation, with minor vocoder effects on Madonna's vocals. "Ghosttown" was released to iTunes Store as part of the album's pre-order in December 2014, in response to hackers leaking songs from Rebel Heart. The song received positive response from critics, who commended Madonna's vocal delivery, the lyrics, and Billboard's production; they also compared it to Madonna's earlier ballads. In the United States, the song became Madonna's 36th entry on the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as her 45th number-one song on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, surpassing country singer George Strait as the artist with most number-one songs on an active Billboard chart. Internationally, "Ghosttown" reached the top twenty position in Hungary and Italy, and the digital charts of Finland and Sweden, and was certified platinum by the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI).   more »

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ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone /tʃɪˈkoʊneɪ/ chi-KOH-nay; August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, director, dancer and entrepreneur. She has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. Considered to be one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time for being an influential figure in contemporary music, she is known for continuously reinventing both her music and image, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry. Critics have praised her diverse musical productions which have also been known to induce controversy. more »

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Watch: Taylor Swift Performs Ghosttown With Madonna

30 March 2015, 10:04 | Updated: 30 March 2015, 10:11

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Madonna performs new single, ‘Ghosttown’ with Taylor Swift on guitar.

Madonna took the stage at the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards last night to perform her new Rebel Heart single, Ghosttown and Taylor Swift joined her.

Swift didn’t sing a note though, preferring on this occasion to play guitar.

Could this signal an upcoming duet? We'd love to hear that!

Madonna Performs New Single 'Ghosttown' With Taylor Swift At iHeartRadio Awards (VIDEO)

Taylor Swift ’s big win at the iHeartRadio awards on Sunday night wasn’t the only reason she had everyone talking - she also joined none other than the Queen of Pop, Madonna for a live performance on stage.

  • Madonna Accuses Radio 1 Of Ageism
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Thanks to her most recent album, ‘1989’, Taylor might now be best known for her pop stylings, but she proved that she’s multi-talented by playing guitar on Madonna’s new track ‘Ghosttown’.

The performance was much more stripped back than what we’re used to seeing from Madonna, with minimal choreography and not a matador’s cape in sight ( though we have a feeling we know why that might be… ).

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Madonna and Taylor Swift

Madonna also presented Taylor with the Song of the Year award for her track, ‘Shake It Off’, which was one of three gongs she took home with her across the course of the evening, also coming out on top in the Best Lyrics and Artist of the Year categories.

I might be okay but I'm NOT FINE AT ALL. #MyFangirlLife #MadonnaAndTaylor A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:47pm PDT

She seemed pretty excited to have been performed with the ‘Living For Love’ singer, excitedly sharing a snap of the two of them on her Instagram page and writing: “I might be okay but I'm NOT FINE AT ALL.”

Madonna has previously spoken favourably of Taylor in interviews, claiming: “I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can't get them out of my head."

Watch the duo's full performance here...

Of course, Madonna is no stranger to performing with modern-day stars, having performed with Miley Cyrus during her MTV Unplugged session last year, singing a mash-up of their hits ‘We Can’t Stop’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me’ while dressed in cowgirl outfits .

‘Ghosttown’ is the second single to be taken from her new album, ‘Rebel Heart’, which reached the number two spot when it was released earlier this month .

The video for the track is expected to be released next month, which will feature 'Empire' actor Terence Howard, and was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, the man behind the videos for her songs 'Jump', 'Ray of Light' and 'Music'.

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Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift Perform ‘Ghosttown’

Madonna performed the best song off her new album Rebel Heart last night, with a little assist from Taylor Swift. At the iHeartRadio Awards—which consistently lures the biggest names in music—Madge took to the stage for a stirring rendition of "Ghosttown," while Swift accompanied her on acoustic guitar. Surprisingly Swift didn't sing, which at times had the surreal effect of making her seem like just another member of Madonna's band, especially when the pop star moves to the front of the stage leaving TSwift in the background and out of focus. But when Swift rejoins Madonna at the foot of the stage for the song's emotional climax, you're reminded that oh yeah, that's Taylor Swift.

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

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7 September 2017 2:27 AM

Watch: Madonna teams up with Taylor Swift to perform ‘Ghosttown’

By Josh Haggis

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Madonna has teamed up with Taylor Swift to perform her new single Ghosttown .

The Queen of Pop enlisted the help of the former Country Queen on guitar for her performance of the ballad at the iHeartRadio Music Awards over the weekend (March 29).

Madge

Meanwhile, a group of Madonna’s dancers have recreated the Vogue music video to mark the iconic track’s 25th(!) anniversary this month (March) – find out more here .

Madonna recently weighed in on the Dolce and Gabbana scandal, arguing that the designers should “think before they speak” next time – find out more here.

Watch Madge and Swift’s performance below:

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq8__qsJMJg[/youtube]

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Taylor Swift joins Madonna onstage to perform ‘Ghosttown’ – watch

The team up took place at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles last night (March 29)

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance with Madonna at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles last night (March 29).

Madonna was performing her latest single ‘Ghosttown’, with Swift joining the singer on acoustic guitar. Watch footage below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq8__qsJMJg

ghosttown madonna taylor swift

Swift is the highest placed woman in the list which ranks “extraordinary” people who are “transforming business, government and philanthropy”.

Explaining the reasoning behind her position, the publication stated: “Taylor Swift didn’t become the highest-paid woman in the music business by accident. Pop’s savviest star has crossed swords with Spotify, embraced corporate sponsorship, and moved to secure dozens of trademarks (including phrases like “This sick beat”)—plus she has proved shrewder at honing a brand in the social media age than virtually any other person or company.

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Madonna & Taylor Swift, Together At Last

Madonna & taylor swift, together at last.

"When it all falls down, we'll be two souls in a ghost town.." *ugly cries forever* #madonnaandtaylor A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:28pm PDT
I might be okay but I'm NOT FINE AT ALL. #MyFangirlLife #MadonnaAndTaylor A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:47pm PDT

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Madonna performs “Ghosttown” at the iHeart Radio Music Awards

by MadonnaTribe · March 30, 2015

Madonna was joined by Taylor Swift on guitar as they performed GhostTown onstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on NBC from The Shrine Auditorium on March 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

iheartradio_001

Photo credits: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia. Thanks to Lighthouse Mike.

Tags: Ghosttown iHeartRadio Madonna Taylor Swift

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    Madonna - Ghosttown HD ( live at 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards featuring Taylor Swift) neokessler 7.95K subscribers Subscribe Subscribed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7...

  3. Ghosttown (Madonna song)

    " Ghosttown " is a song recorded by American singer Madonna for her thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart (2015). It was released to radio stations on March 13, 2015, as the album's second single. It was written by Madonna, Jason Evigan, Evan Bogart, and Sean Douglas, and produced by Madonna, Billboard and Evigan.

  4. Madonna

    Madonna - Ghosttown feat. Taylor Swift (Remastered) Live at iHeartradio Music Awards 2015 Leonardo Castelo 4.58K subscribers 8.8K views 3 years ago

  5. Madonna

    Madonna performs her single Ghosttown with Taylor Swift at the 2015 I Heart Radio Music Awards

  6. Ghosttown (Madonna feat. Taylor Swift Live

    Ghosttown (Madonna feat. Taylor Swift Live @ iHeart Radio Music Awards 2015) Rocco Ryan 156 subscribers Subscribe 2 126 views 8 years ago #Epic Madonna performs Ghosttown at the iHeart...

  7. Madonna with Taylor Swift

    Madonna http://amzn.to/YjSKwF ITunes http://bit.ly/MDNAdsc

  8. Madonna and Taylor Swift's iHeartRadio Duet: A Perfect Collaboration

    March 30, 2015 11:15 AM EDT L ast night, Madonna acted out one of her best-known recent tricks: Enlisting a younger performer to grant her music some extra currency. In a televised performance of...

  9. Madonna and Taylor Swift "Ghosttown" Performance

    Madonna and Taylor Swift busted out a surprise duet at this weekend's iHeartRadio Music Awards, performing Madonna's new single, "Ghosttown," from her new album, Rebel Heart. Madonna sang...

  10. iHeartRadio Music Awards: Taylor Swift Backs Up Madonna on 'Ghosttown

    March 29, 2015 @ 9:15 PM Both Madonna and Taylor Swift can hold a stage by themselves just fine, but together they delivered one of the biggest thrills of Sunday's iHeartRadio Music Awards....

  11. Madonna & Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' at the iHeartRadio Awards

    Madonna & Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' at the iHeartRadio Awards: Here Are the 8 Best Moments! By Alex Ungerman 11:53 AM PDT, March 30, 2015 Getty Images It has finally happened!

  12. Madonna And Taylor Swift Were Two Souls In A 'Ghosttown' At The

    Madonna And Taylor Swift Were Two Souls In A 'Ghosttown' At The iHeartRadio Music Awards Madonna & Taylor Swift Rock The House In Joint Performance By Matthew Jacobs Mar 30, 2015, 09:29 AM EDT | Updated Dec 6, 2017 LEAVE A COMMENT

  13. Madonna

    9.3M views 8 years ago ...more ...more Madonna - The Immaculate Collection (Official Audio) [Full Album] | Madonna - Greatest Hits Madonna Taken from Madonna's 'Rebel Heart' album. Download...

  14. Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift Blow the Lid off the iHeartRadio Awards

    The duo took to the stage on Sunday night at the iHeartRadio Awards to perform Madonna's song "Ghost Town" with her Madgesty on vocals and Swift strumming the life out of her acoustic guitar.

  15. Watch Madonna, Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' Together

    Watch Madonna, Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' at iHeartRadio Awards Rihanna also debuts "Bitch Better Have My Money" at awards show in Los Angeles By Daniel Kreps March 30, 2015 Madonna and...

  16. Madonna

    A special duet version of Ghosttown was performed live by Madonna and Taylor Swift at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in 2015. Influence Many fans and critics have compared the song's post-apocalyptic theme to the current state of the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, making the song relevant, despite being released five years earlier.

  17. Watch: Taylor Swift Performs Ghosttown With Madonna

    Madonna took the stage at the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards last night to perform her new Rebel Heart single, Ghosttown and Taylor Swift joined her. Swift didn't sing a note though, preferring on this occasion to play guitar.

  18. Madonna Performs New Single 'Ghosttown' With Taylor Swift At

    Madonna Performs New Single 'Ghosttown' With Taylor Swift At iHeartRadio Awards (VIDEO) Madonna And Taylor Take The iHeartRadio Stage By Storm Daniel Welsh — The Huffington Post UK...

  19. Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown'

    Watch Madonna and Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' epic. by Ben Barna. March 30, 2015. Madonna performed the best song off her new album Rebel Heart last night, with a little assist from ...

  20. Watch: Madonna teams up with Taylor Swift to perform 'Ghosttown'

    Madonna has teamed up with Taylor Swift to perform her new single Ghosttown. Read next The 10 most popular Attitude YouTube videos of 2023 The 12 best LGBTQ albums of 2023 The Queen of Pop enlisted the help of the former Country Queen on guitar for her performance of the ballad at the iHeartRadio Music Awards over the weekend (March 29).

  21. Taylor Swift joins Madonna onstage to perform 'Ghosttown'

    Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance with Madonna at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles last night (March 29). Madonna was performing her latest single 'Ghosttown', with Swift ...

  22. Madonna Taylor Swift Ghosttown Duet iHeart Radio

    Swift busted out her guitar (and her garter) to accompany Madge as she sang her new single, "Ghosttown." Somehow, the performance managed to end without the two smooching à la Britney, but it was ...

  23. Madonna performs "Ghosttown" at the iHeart Radio Music Awards

    Rebel Heart Madonna performs "Ghosttown" at the iHeart Radio Music Awards by MadonnaTribe · March 30, 2015 Madonna was joined by Taylor Swift on guitar as they performed GhostTown onstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on NBC from The Shrine Auditorium on March 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.