Lady Gaga Shines at Superbowl LI
Superbowl LI, otherwise known as the most anticipated Sunday night of the year, broke records left and right because not only was it the first championship that ever went into overtime but it also made Tom Brady of the New England Patriots the first quarterback in NFL history to win five rings. However, despite the incredibly thrilling game, it was Lady Gaga’s halftime performance that completely stole the show.
Born with the name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, it’s clear that Lady Gaga has Italian blood flowing through her veins. Her roots can be traced back to Naples and Sicily and the superstar credits her Italian heritage for keeping her grounded and capable of dealing with all the fame in a proper manner. Gaga stylishly arrived to the pre-game press conference in a stunningly sleek black Lamborghini Huracan, an exotic Italian car that goes for approximately $250,000. When it came to her Superbowl outfit, it is no surprise that the singer’s designer of choice was none other than Donatella Versace, Italian powerhouse and head of the luxurious Versace label.
Lady Gaga descended through the roof of the NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday night wearing a dazzling custom-made leotard designed by Versace herself. The ensemble was a fully beaded iridescent jumpsuit with sculptural shoulder detail paired with fully embroidered boots, both embellished with Swarovski crystals. As always, Gaga showed off her high glam fashion sense but she also embodied what it meant to be a strong Italian-American woman only heightened by the fact that her outfit was made by another powerful Italian woman. Versace flew all the way to Texas just to watch the halftime performance live saying that Gaga was “going to be fierce. Wait and see!” The two even managed to snap an Instagram photo together moments before Gaga took center stage in front of over 111 million viewers worldwide.
Whether it’s music or clothes, both Donatella Versace and Lady Gaga know how to make a statement, which is perhaps why the pair works so well together. Given the current division in the United States, many people were expecting Gaga to make a forceful political statement due to her reputation as an avid LGBTQ activist. Instead the singer made the wise decision to use the biggest platform in television to send out a more subtle message to the masses which made it all the more compelling.
Starting the night off with a patriotic mashup of “This Land Is Your Land” and “God Bless America,” Gaga, with a huge group of diverse dancers behind her, went on to belt out some of her greatest hits for 13 minutes straight including the LGBTQ anthem “Born This Way.” There is an inherently political message with lyrics like “No matter gay, straight or bi / Lesbian transgender life / I’m on the right track baby / I was born to survive” especially during the nation’s largest sporting event that praises male ego and virility. This interesting juxtaposition with millions of viewers, along with Vice President Mike Pence watching from the crowd, proved to be a beautiful expression of representation, inclusion, and unity.
On social media, celebrities had only kind words to say about the legendary performance including Tony Bennett, another Italian-American who has collaborated with Gaga often, tweeted out: “Lady...the most super thing about the Superbowl was you... just amazing.” Neil Patrick Harris reacted: “I’m gagging over Lady Gaga and her halftime show. She was everything. Creative and fearless and inclusive. Loved.” Fellow singing sensation Adele said: "Lady you SMASHED it! Totally nailed it."
Despite all the lights and the glamor, the point is simple: inclusion is what makes this country great. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it is without a doubt that Lady Gaga’s electrifying solo Superbowl performance will go down as one of the most memorable shows of all time.