As I’m sure you’ve heard, Lady Gaga was this year’s half-time headliner at the 51st Super Bowl.
Many people were expecting her to go full on political or to create a creative stir as she did at the MTV Music Awards draped in red lace or her infamous red carpet raw meat dress. Instead she chose to focus on the music, performance and choreography including subtle (but powerful) moments promoting unity and equality. She used entertainment as a tool to bridge the massive divide currently happening in America.
I thought her choice to open with a mash-up of God Bless America, This Land is my Land and the Pledge of Allegiance was a perfect. It resonated deeply as the well-known lyrics were heard differently in light of all that is happening with the Mexican wall and Muslim ban. It was a reminder of the meaning behind the words Americans have been singing and saying for years.
God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
This land is your land
This land is my land
This land was made for you and me
One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!
During the opening hundreds of drones were in the sky lighting up red and blue creating colorful stars. I was a little disappointed that the drones weren’t fully utilized. It would’ve been great if they created the shape of a giant heart, then shifted into a circular spiral swirling the red, white and blue colors to unify into the American Flag. If you’re going to do it, DO IT. Just saying.
She then dove off of the high platform and proceeded to do a series of aerial stunts, Peter Pan on Broadway style.
The set list included a medley of many of her well-known hits like Poker Face, Telephone, Bad Romance, Just Dance and Million Reasons. Though the stand out moment of the medley was Born this Way. The song itself is about equality, acceptance and self-love no matter the color of your skin or sexual identity. Again, with everything happening in the U.S.A. these lyrics echoed loudly.
Was the choreography amazing? No. Was it good and entertaining? Yes! Many of the pop songs chosen have a similar beat, tempo and energy so the choreography for all felt very similar and repetitive. There were some missed opportunities, choreographic wise, that could’ve really taken these up a notch. For one, they could’ve included an ensemble of aerialists from silk, to bungee or rope (corde lisse) to support Lady Gaga and the visuals.
With that said, I also needed to keep in mind the target audience. This is the Super Bowl. Football fans from Middle America, the coasts, kids, grandparents were all watching.
As many of Lady Gaga’s fans didn’t watch the game but rather only tuned in to watch her show, many people who aren’t fans of hers stayed in the room to watch as it was part of the Super Bowl. The first rule of entertainment is to know your audience. She kept everyone in mind while designing this program so that they could all connect. That’s not an easy task.
Her singing was on point, her dancing was on point and her energy was off the hook. It’s not easy to sing, dance, fly, flip and not fall in heals with bright lights in your face as millions of people are watching you.
Also, we need to remember that in many previous half-time shows, the headliner often brought guest artists to support them. Madonna brought along LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and CeeLo Green. Coldplay had Beyonce and Bruno Mars join them. Lady Gaga held it down alone.
The ending, however, was hilarious. Rather than hitting a stellar final pose in line with the last beat and fireworks she instead shouted “super bowl 51” and threw her mic over the edge. She then caught a rhinestone football and leapt off the edge in what I can only assume was a foam filled pit. Notice I said “mic throw” and not “mic drop.” She was going for a gangster ending but it looked more like a kid who was handed an apple when every other kid got an ice cream cone so threw it down in protest.
I think someone should accept their award like this at the next Oscars. Shout “Academy Awards 89,” throw down the podium mic, have Robert DiNero toss them their Oscar then stage dive into the audience who of course wouldn’t catch anyone because they’re Hollywood dammit. Laugh now, but I bet you someone would totally do it. #Ratings.