Well, what initially sounded like a cringeworthy idea by producers hoping to make a seasoned pop icon more palatable for teens watching at home actually turned out to a pretty major…err, Madge-r moment.

Madonna has been performing her latest Rebel Heart single “Ghosttown” (not to be confused with Adam Lambert‘s “Ghost Town”) all over the world, from France’s Le Grand Journal earlier this month to her leather-heavy rendition on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during Madonna Week.

Never, however, has she performed the song with experimental, under-the-radar indie coffee shop singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift. (Some of you might already know of her, but if not, she’s definitely One To Watch.)

And as it turned out, the two performers managed to have a pretty spiritual, stripped-down kumbaya together on stage at the iHeartRadio Music Awards this evening.

With Taylor keeping it respectfully low-key on guitar (no surprise faces or awkward shimmying here), a #LivingForLongHair Madge — who clearly just wandered onto the stage after an afternoon riding a steed (an actual horse, that is) — emotionally belted out her post-apocalyptic devastation anthem. And that was basically that! No harnesses, capes or special effects needed: Just M crooning the tune with Tay Tay strumming along by her side, allowing the music to be the main focus.

(Side note: It’s kind of hysterical that Madonna sings “I’ll never leave your side” right as she leaves Taylor’s side to go walk down the stage. Hey, it’s better than taking lyrics about falling down too literally!)

While the performance was a pleasant, understated and genuinely lovely surprise, the underlying symbolism is what makes it even more impressive: Taylor Swift, the biggest pop star in the world at the moment, just played back-up guitar for Madonna, The Queen Of Pop. It’s an incredible gesture of respect…and a great moment in cross-generational Girl Power.

This isn’t the first time Madonna has given her blessing to the new crop of talent of course. There was that hoe-down with Miley Cyrus last year…and the greatest and most iconic performance in pop of all time: The 2003 VMAs with Godney and Legendtina.

I’m now eagerly looking forward to hearing Madonna’s upcoming Rebel Heart follow-up crafted alongside Taylor Swift, 1958.

Photo via JustJared