You can blame Donald Trump for the success of Lady Gaga

Dec 23, 2011 at 6:01 p.m. ET

There's nothing like getting the holiday season started with a good chuckle. Try this one on for size: Donald Trump thinks he "discovered" Lady Gaga.

The pop culture fanatics who recently voted Lady Gaga Billboard magazine's Most Overrated Artist of 2011 have business mogul Donald Trump to blame for the singer's success.

Gaga's meteoric rise to fame may have been thanks to her epic pop hits and insane sense of style -- but according to the real estate magnate, he was the man who made it all happen.

The singer performed "Just Dance" -- the song that would become her first big hit -- during the 2008 Miss Universe ceremony in Vietnam when Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza took home the crown. The Donald says the appearance helped launch Lady Gaga to stardom.

Never mind L.A. Reid and all of the folks over at Def Jam who heard, signed and eventually dropped the outre songstress years before she found chart-topping success with Interscope Records.

The Celebrity Apprentice boss just released a new book, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, in which he tells the story of the day he got Gaga a career-making gig.

Lady Gaga gives back with Born This Way Foundation >>

"I own the Miss Universe pageant," Donald writes in the tome. "And about four years ago, during what you call half-time, we always have an entertainer. We've had a lot of great people and you don't pay them anything because it's one of the biggest audiences and my people told me, 'Nobody knows who she is, but there's this woman with good talent named Lady Gaga.'"

He continues, "I said, 'I don't care… if you like her, put her on.' So we put her on… it was live all over the United States and all over the world and the next day, nobody was talking about [the winner of] Miss Universe, everybody was talking, 'Who was the woman, who was the entertainer? She was unbelievable.'"

Forbes: Lady Gaga is the highest-earning woman in music >>

Apparently Gaga is grateful for the role he allegedly played in making her famous.

"She's been very gracious about it," says Donald. "I don't want to say we made Lady Gaga, but she was incredible and that was her break."

Didn't Donald hire Heidi Montag to "sing" at the Miss Universe Pageant a couple of years ago?

Does that mean we can blame him for the rise and fall of Speidi, too?

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