Will Lady Gaga’s political Super Bowl show restart her career?
The debate continues about just how political Gaga’s performance was, but no one was left in doubt about the singer’s talent and showbiz smarts
Lady Gaga performs during the Super Bowl Halftime Show at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
At 1.40am Monday morning Irish time, a roaring Twitter debate was taking place over whether or not Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI Halftime Show was political. In a pre-recorded intro on the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium, Texas, she pointedly recited portions of God Bless America, Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land – a protest song that was sung in airports across the US following Trump’s Muslim ban (Guthrie, incidentally, was once a tenant of Donald Trump's father, Fred, in Brooklyn, and spoke out about Trump snr as someone who stirred up racial hate) – and the Pledge of Allegiance.
And then, live in front of 117.5 million viewers, Gaga dived into the stadium via a harness and some cable wire, thrashed out a medley of hits, including Poker Face, the LGBTQ anthem Born This Way (the first time in history the word transgender was said during the Super Bowl) and Bad Romance, finishing with a mic drop and a body slam, aggressively reminding us why we love her. Even heteronormative football fans prefixed glowing tweets with “I’m not a Gaga fan but . . . ”
Controversy can cost you at the Super Bowl. Just ask Janet Jackson, whose career suffered vicious backlash after 2004’s nipplegate – we’re still waiting on an apology, Justin Timberlake – or rapper MIA, who was brought to court by the NFL for giving the finger during Madonna’s 2012 Halftime Show, demanding $16.6 million in damages. The case was privately settled in 2014.
Since Sunday, Gaga’s music sales have surged 1,000 per cent, reportedly selling 150,000 digital albums and songs on February 5th alone. She has also announced a world tour and will be performing with Metallica at the 59th Grammy Awards this Sunday – Puppetrazzi or Enter Bad Romance, anyone?
Following the middling reaction to 2016’s soft rock album Joanne, this is the fiery, sequinned kick up the arse that Gaga’s career and her monsters needed. This will be the year where Gaga really shows her teeth. Louise Bruton