We’re only a few days away from Super Bowl LI, and the excitement is palpable. Perhaps the most exciting part of Sunday’s festivities — hell, the only exciting thing about Sunday’s festivities — will be Lady Gaga’s halftime performance. Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime set will get political, as she revealed in her preshow press conference. There may be no meat dresses, egg entrances or biker gangs as backup dancers, but that doesn’t mean Gaga’s totally changing her vibe for the occasion.
You know what’s great about Gaga, aside from literally everything? Her ability to mix the political, the personal and the artistic in a truly stunning fashion. During her Super Bowl LI press conference, Gaga made it plain that just because she was going to be playing at the most football of football games, it didn’t mean she was going to be softening her vibe to become more crowd-pleasing.
When asked if she was going to unify America (because we all love Gaga — admit it), Gaga replied, “Well, I don’t know if I will succeed in unifying America. You’ll have to ask America when it’s over. But the only statements that I’ll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I’ve been consistently making throughout my career. I believe in a passion for inclusion. I believe in the spirit of equality, and the spirit of this country as one of love and compassion and kindness. So my performance will have both those philosophies.”
I wouldn’t have expected any less from Gaga, who always knows how to bring the majesty and meaning to her performances. There’s no doubt in my mind that Gaga, who will be bringing back the older hits from her catalogue and will surely be bringing out those themes of inclusion and personal expression, will put on a halftime show that is overtly political but exuberant at the same time. She’s an entertainer, but she can also be profoundly meaningful; this bodes an interesting performance indeed.
While it’s no surprise that Gaga will focus on equality and inclusion (two tenets that she has upheld in her work for years), what will be more curious to see is how her politically leaning halftime performance will be received. When Beyoncé took to the Super Bowl stage in 2016, she and her dancers wore costumes that paid homage to the Black Panthers, inciting claims that she intentionally brought inflammatory politics to a venue that was apolitical.
As frustrating as it was to see Beyoncé negatively singled out for her choices, it set a precedent for potential scrutiny on any performer who would dare get political in the future. With Gaga giving us insight ahead of time, will she avoid any negative fallout? Will she face the same scrutiny as Beyoncé did? The conversation could go a number of ways, and frankly, I’m nervous about all of them.
Forget football. Are you ready for some Lady Gaga?
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