Note: Diego Luna Cannes 2016 // The One That Got Away cover // Diego Luna Cannes 2016
Released on November 11, 2011, the video begins with an elderly woman (Perry) in a white long-sleeved dress walking through a modernistic home. She blandly walks past her husband (played by Herman Sinitzyn), hinting that the two are in a loveless marriage. While making herself a cup of coffee, the elderly woman, unhappy with her present situation, begins to think about her colorful past when the song begins: her younger self with her artist boyfriend (Luna). As the song plays, the happy girl and the boyfriend paint portraits of each other, dress up wildly, dance at a party, and gives each other a makeshift tattoo.
As the elderly woman sadly reminisces while sitting on her (and the husband's) fancy bedroom alone in a silk nightgown, her younger self and the boyfriend get into an argument which culminates in her splashing red paint on one of his elaborate paintings after he did the same to one of hers and he leaves angrily then drives away. The woman's younger self appears to her older self's bedroom with each on the bed as they both sing. The younger version is also shown in her older self's closet, crying and singing while the boyfriend is seen driving in a colt mustang to blow off steam from the fight. At the same time in the present, the older woman is shown driving out of her garage in a similar type of car the boyfriend is driving in the flashback.
The boyfriend opens the sun visor above him while driving and finds the veil of the dress the younger version had worn while partying. He stares at the veil, hinting that he decides to make up with her. But he does not notice the large boulders on the road from a small rock slide. He swerves to avoid the rocks and accidentally drives off a cliff, dying in the subsequent crash without getting a chance to make up, while the woman's younger self also 'dies' at the same time (possibly representing the death of her colorful personality). The song ends abruptly as the sounds of the car violently rolling are heard.
While Johnny Cash's cover of "You Are My Sunshine" plays quietly in the background, the woman's older self now sports a dark conservative long-sleeved dress and is revealed to have driven to that same spot where the boyfriend had died. She walks up to the edge of the cliff and leans against a fence when the boyfriend (either a ghost or a hallucination) appears before her on the other side of the fence. The two hold hands, revealing matching tattoos on their hands. When the older woman snaps back to reality, the Johnny Cash music stops suddenly and the boyfriend vanishes. Saddened, the elderly woman turns back and silently walks away from the cliff as the screen fades to black.
A seven-minute director's cut version was shown exclusively at select advance screenings of the motion picture My Week with Marilyn on November 11, 2011. The extended version shows a more cinematic side to the plot of the original music video and includes never-before-seen footage, as well as extended dialogue between the characters.
Jillian Mapes of Billboard commented that the video was "beautifully-shot" and praised the interesting plot. A writer of Rolling Stone wrote: "It's a cute clip for a sweet song, but the heavy-handed aging makeup is hard to get over." Erin Strecker from Entertainment Weekly compared the video with Titanic (1997) and Rihanna's video for "We Found Love". Strecker also noted that the video was more "tragic" than he was expecting from Perry. Jocelyn Vena of MTV News said: "Katy Perry's moody, contemplative clip for 'The One That Got Away' perfectly encapsulates both the joy of falling in love and the heartbreak of letting go. It travels through time and space and recalls the story of Perry's one that got away." Consequence of Sound's Chris Coplan called the video a "little more somber" than the videos Perry made for "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".
The Sims 3 version
On January 17, 2012, Electronic Arts announced that they would be teaming up with Perry to help promote their new expansion pack for The Sims game franchise called The Sims 3: Showtime which sees the release of a limited collector's edition that contains in-game content based on herself. An official music video for "The One That Got Away" featuring Perry as a Sim was uploaded on their official YouTube channel. The storyline shows a female sim and her love interest falling in love and getting married. One day, the male sim collapses in the bathroom floor, he is taken to the hospital and then dies. His wife is then seen mourning at his funeral. Suddenly, she is transported "to another life", Katy's Candyfornia featured in her California Gurls music video, where her love interest is still alive and well; they reunite and kiss. It also features most of the in-game content that will be included for the collector's edition of the Sims 3: Showtime and in the stuff pack The Sims 3: Katy Perry's Sweet Treats.
Live performances and other versions
"The One That Got Away" was part of the setlist of Perry's worldwide 2011 concert tour, California Dreams Tour. On October 16, 2011, Perry performed the song on the UK version of The X Factor. Perry performed the song at the American Music Awards on November 20, 2011. Her AMA 2011 performance was followed by a lengthy standing ovation, and presentation of a special award acknowledging Perry as the only female to have five number-one singles from the same album. Perry performed the song as part of a Live Lounge special for BBC Radio 1's Fearne Cotton on March 19, 2012 along with "Part of Me", "Firework", "Thinking of You" and a censored version of "Niggas in Paris".
A remix featuring American rapper B.o.B was released in December 2011. B.o.B added two new verses, one at the beginning and another replacing the bridge of the album version of the song. The decision for Capitol Records to release a remix and reduce the price of the song to give Perry a sixth number-one song has been criticized by some, noting that this is not Perry's first time adding a featured guest to her single releases. The hit single "ET", was modified with verses from Kanye West, while "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" was given a remix featuring Missy Elliott. However, Billboard, which compiles the charts, have issued multiple columns defending Perry and Capitol, underlining that they are operating under chart rules and that numerous other acts, such as Rihanna and Britney Spears, used the same tactics for charting purposes over the years. An acoustic version of the song, produced by Jon Brion, was released to the iTunes Store on January 16, 2012, garnering more favorable reviews, with critics noting that "The One That Got Away" sounds very naturally as a ballad. Perry's label, Capitol Records, sponsored a contest in January 2012 encouraging fans to record their own acoustic version of the song for a chance to have it featured on Perry's Facebook wall. The song was also included in the setlist of The Prismatic World Tour, in which it is interpolated with Perry's 2009 song "Thinking of You".
A violin cover of the song by music student Grace Youn, which Youn had uploaded to YouTube in 2011, was used in the opening scene of Perry's 2012 documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me.
Formats and track listings
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from Teenage Dream album liner notes.
- Katy Perry – songwriting, lead vocals, guitar (acoustic version)
- Dr. Luke – songwriting, producer, drums, keyboards, programming
- Max Martin – songwriting, producer, drums, keyboards, programming
- Emily Wright – engineer
- Sam Holland – engineer
- Tatiana Gottwald – assistant engineer
- Serban Ghenea – mixing
- Jon Hanes – mix engineer
- Tim Roberts – assistant mix engineer
- Leon Pendarvis – arrangement, conductor
Charts and certifications