The pop queen's new album, "PRISM," was shaping up to be darker than anything she'd made before. Then she looked inward and changed course. The result is the most spiritual album she's made yet, led by her eighth No. 1 on the Hot 100, "Roar."

"Honestly, I'm just masquerading as a pop star." Coming from Katy Perry -- that most DayGlo of pop stars -- such a statement could verge on the absurd. But today, Perry has stepped outside the smoke and mirror balls. Sitting on a couch in a rehearsal studio in Burbank, Calif.-where she is preparing for a live appearance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas in just a few days -- Perry carries only a fleeting resemblance to the cotton-candied persona she's crafted during the last five years.

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