It’s wasn’t exactly a regal arrival. Unless, of course, being late is befitting royalty. Katy Perry, the belle of the Starkey Hearing Foundation ball, hit the red carpet Sunday at the RiverCentre in St. Paul 30 minutes after the carpet was supposed to have been rolled up.
The highest paid entertainer of 2014 — she grossed $135 million, according to Forbes — was immediately escorted to Tani and Bill Austin, leader of Starkey, the Eden Prairie-based hearing-aid company whose black-tie gala raises millions to outfit children in Third World countries with free hearing aids.
Perry posed for a few photos with the Austins and then, without an escort (John Mayer is off again these days, we hear) walked the red carpet, with nary a queenly wave, much of a sincere smile or even a word.
“She’s not answering questions,” a publicist responded after a question was asked.
The pop queen didn’t even acknowledge a couple of gleeful young girls standing with their moms along the red carpet.
Well, roar then.
At least, some celebs were talkative at the Twin Cities’ glitziest gala. Like Minnesota athletes who escorted their moms — pro footballer Michael Floyd and brand-new Timberwolf Tyus Jones.
Heck, even Twins manager Paul Molitor showed up before Perry — even though he had an important day job. Despite his team losing again to the Yankees on a sunny Sunday afternoon, he met the red-carpet media. He said he went on a Starkey mission to the Dominican Republic to give children hearing aids a few years ago.
“I was supposed to go again this winter,” he said, “but I got a new job.”
Gene Simmons, star of Kiss and reality TV, followed Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons on the red carpet. Simmons had never followed Valli before. Valli, 81, admitted to wearing a hearing aid, and Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed Simmons, suggested that Kiss pass out hearing aids — not earplugs — at concerts to fans who need them.
Hollywood types knew how to do the red carpet even though it was indoors and neither Kathy Griffin nor Ryan Seacrest was there to interrogate them. Julia Ormond (“Mad Men,” “Witches of East End”), Dascha Polanco (“Orange Is the New Black”) and Quinton Aaron (“The Blind Side”) walked the RiverCentre carpet. So did former Vikings Chuck Foreman, Robert Smith and Greg Jennings and former pro basketball stars Ralph Sampson, Ron Harper and Kiki Vandeweghe.
Current NBA player Cole Aldrich, a seven-footer who grew up in Bloomington, had some fun posing for photos with actor Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” movies. Aldrich showed off his orange-and-black pirate-decorated socks to Troyer. If Aldrich had met up with Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns on the red carpet, he would have won the socks competition because Towns wasn’t wearing any.
If Mound-raised actor Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules, had a smackdown with fellow Starkey regular Lou Ferrigno, who played the Incredible Hulk, who would win?
“Hercules, of course,” Sorbo said. “At least in the cartoon.”
Two of the biggest names at the gala completely avoided the red carpet — former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. That’s possibly because their escorts — those Secret Service agents — were getting their ear pieces checked by the Starkey folks.