Nearly a decade into her career, Lady Gaga has flaunted many personalities: the glitzy "Poker Face" breakout, the meat dress-wearing Mother Monster, the bluesy, stripped down 'Joanne' crooner. But for her halftime show debut at Super Bowl LI at Houston's NRG Stadium on Sunday (Feb. 5), Gaga was simply herself.
The singer (born Stefani Germanotta) started on the roof with a patriotic light show of a red, white and blue constellation while singing Woodie Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." She also uttered part of the Pledge of Allegiance: "One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." A fitting salute to America on the country's biggest stage in the midst of president Donald Trump's immigration executive order that have sparked protests across the country.
Dressed in a shimmery silver and blue number, Gaga bounced across her intricate, half-star-shaped stage as her army of fans cheered her on. She opened her show atop a tall pillar before seemingly levitating down to ground-level as she delivered her catalog's most upbeat offerings like "Edge of Glory" and "Poker Face" with a special shout out to Texas. and the one-song-fits-all anthem "Born This Way." She carried on solo for "Telephone," a number that featured two-time halftime show performer Beyoncé (who had announced her pregnancy with twins at the start of February). Few attendees hugged their seats for her throwback hit "Just Dance."
"You wanna feel good with us?," Gaga asked Houston to a roar of cheers.
The most illuminating segment of her halftime show arrived with "Million Reasons," the heartbreak ballad off her fifth studio album 'Joanne.' Prior to her performance, a prompt flashed on the Jumbotron asking the audience to use their smartphone lights when the message "Go! Flashlights" hit the screen. Despite the song's message of heartache, Gaga stroked the keys of her keyboard and sang like it was the performance of a lifetime.
For the finale of "Bad Romance," paws were up as Gaga and a team of white-clad dancers strutted across the stage. Fans who stood front and center on the field waved wands of light with synchronized choreography, making Gaga appear like the general of a dance army. A fireworks display erupted following her high-octane performance. With her trio of wardrobe changes, Gaga's dynamic versatility on the stage made her somewhat like the Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan during the match-up: the real MVP.