The meat dress of 2010. “Hatching” at the 2011 Grammys. Literally getting puked on onstage in 2014. And now, in the first few months of 2017, a fabulously orchestrated nosedive off NRG Stadium. It’s official — Lady Gaga cannot be stopped. And after the performance she gave during the Super Bowl halftime show, I’m not convinced she ever should be.
Gaga’s performance was the subject of hot discussion even before she took to the stage Sunday night. For one, her decision to perform solo was pretty unusual, as it’s now expected for halftime performers to bring out special guests during the show. It wasn’t until hours before the show Gaga confirmed she would be performing alone, crushing the rumors Beyoncé would be returning to the Super Bowl stage to join her.
In addition to the special guest chatter, an even bigger question lurked on the minds of many viewers — would the LGBT rights activist involve politics in her performance? I’m personally of the belief you can’t definitively separate politics and activism from art. Even I was surprised by the lack of outright opposition to the Trump administration in Gaga’s performance, as I fully expected her to not only use the Super Bowl’s stage but also Vice President Pence’s presence as an avenue to make a fiery political statement.
Although there weren’t any outright controversial comments made from Lady Gaga, aspects of her performance were laced with political touches. Choosing to start the show with a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s protest song “This Land Is Your Land” was no accident. Neither was her decision to perform her LGBT anthem “Born This Way” in a stadium traditionally filled with more conservative fans. She may not have explicitly denounced Trump for any recent executive actions, but to argue her performance was apolitical is incorrect.
Political messages aside, Gaga delivered a performance worthy of praise from Little Monsters and idle listeners alike. Throwing back the set list with numbers like “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance” and “Telephone” increased the hype tenfold, although the slower yet mind-blowingly powerful “Million Reasons” definitely stole the show. Although she was perhaps a little winded during portions of the 13-minute performance, Gaga’s vocal prowess was on full display with each new song she came out with. Whether she passed the bar set by Queen Bey I can’t say, but there’s no denying Lady Gaga’s performance isn’t one you’re bound to forget any time soon.