After all of the hope and praying for an objectively superior Superbowl LI performance by Adele (or Taylor Swift, or whoever), it was announced back in September 2016 that Lady Gaga would be taking the field for the Halftime Show; or, more accurately, the taking the fucking roof. Despite the totally legitimate fears from her staff, Gaga remains confident that this performance atop the dome at NRG Stadium will go off without a hitch.
So here’s what we know…Lady Gaga will be introduced by Tony Bennett, because…why wouldn’t she? Other than this, there are no confirmed secondary acts to perform alongside her.
Country singer and guy who looks like he’d be nice, but socially intimidating to beta males at parties, Luke Bryan will perform the National Anthem; and the cast of Hamilton the musical will sing America the Beautiful. The pre-game show sounds like it will be a delightful amalgamation of patriotism which will inevitably lull the audience into a false sense of security for what’s to come.
The performance is obviously going to be passionate; but with all of the sociopolitical vitriol spiraling out of control and Lady Gaga herself being…well…Lady Gaga, we can expect some level of virtue signalling or political posturing. The only question is, how far will it go? There was a rumor, which was later dismissed, that the NFL had forbidden Gaga from mentioning President Donald Trump…so this means we’re likely in for more of a protest than a performance; but perhaps not. Lady Gaga is the master of the unexpected, so there’s always the chance she’ll do what would by truly unexpected and have a non-controversial performance that America can collectively appreciate.
I won’t hold my breath. But there are a several directions she could go…and here are my top four:
1. Sophisticated yet passionate. Gaga could show true class and poise while singing a song about heartbroken anger and frustration over the political and social loss she perceives. It would be powerful, yet only the most staunch haters would ridicule her for it. She would be showing the world that art can be a release instead of violence. And it would look good, too.
2. Russian New Wave Goofballs. Gaga could take a jab at the Russia-Trump rumors with a silly and over-the-top Cold War New Wave experience which would confuse and disorient viewers, but remain in typical fashion for her eccentricity. We could get a few Trump jabs in as well as a controversial key moment involving someone getting pissed on. It would the Janet Jackson nipple moment of Superbowl LI. Lady Gaga has claimed that the theme of her performance will be “equality and inclusion” so something along these lines may be the most likely–if you take her at her word–which I do not.
3. Full Blown Soviet. This would be my guess if I didn’t have a better one (which I do). Lady Gaga in full bear-fur and USSR headgear; Communist flags; sexy Russian military dancers; the whole deal. Just imagine Beyonce‘s Formation performance if she were dressed like Joseph Stalin. The reaction to this would be unequivocal joy from Gaga fans and a massive eye-roll from everyone else. If this winds up happening, expect someone at your Superbowl LI party to audibly mutter “oh god…”
4. FULL BLOWN FUCK-YOU NAZI. They say you should expect the best but prepare for the worst. So I’m preparing for this nuclear option, and I don’t put it past the Gaga one bit. Every person I’ve expressed this theory to have countered with “The NFL would never allow that” and I couldn’t disagree more. This performance would undoubtedly be the most controversial Superbowl performance EVER and it would never not be talked about. Imagine it. Lady Gaga standing atop the dome in full Hitler gear, swastika flags hanging (or more likely some variant design so as not to have actual Nazi Flags hanging around NRG Stadium)…it would be epic in the absolute worst way possible. The only factor that would prevent this from happening would be that the NFL would never stop getting hate-fucked about this. But I don’t think that’s enough of a drawback for the institution to say “No.”
Try not to think about it too much now. Because if this actually happens, you’ll never hear the last of it.