By Erin Strecker
October 17, 2011 at 05:16 PM EDT

Let’s debate: Katy Perry performed a slowed-down version of her new single “The One That Got Away” on the U.K X Factor last night… and sounded surprisingly good.

Rocking a new pink hairdo and wielding a guitar, the emotional, stripped-down performance was a success for Perry, who is obviously more known for her radio hits than her live-performance chops.

But give the lady some credit:  she sounds better here than she does on the recorded version of the tune. I could have done without the back-up wails, but otherwise, she should definitely add this version into her rotation.

Check out the performance below:

This winning video got us wondering: Is Perry hoping to transition to some ballads for radio? Adele’s recent success means slower, more emotionally resonant songs are having a moment, and Perry’s put ballads on both her albums—from “Lost” on One of the Boys to “Pearl” on “Teenage Dream”, but she’s never put one out officially other than Boys‘ “Thinking of You,” which peaked at no. 29 on the Hot 100, making it the weakest-performing single of her career.

Obviously, songs like “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” are what people have come to expect from Perry. But she should consider shaking it up: This version of the tune isn’t what hit radio recently, though maybe it should be.

Music Mixers: Did Katy surprise you? Think she could have some radio success with a ballad, or should she stick to her party music?

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