Super Bowl: Lady Gaga Touts Unity and Inclusion in Powerful Halftime Show
The pop star's 13-minute set kicked off with a moving rendition of "God Bless America" and "This Land Is Your Land."
Lady Gaga on Sunday descended upon Houston’s NRG Stadium in patriotic fashion as she kicked off her Super Bowl LI halftime show.
The singer, dressed in an embellished, silver Versace body suit, opened the show atop the stadium rooftop, where she sang a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" and "God Bless America," and recited a line of the pledge of allegiance as lit-up drones circling overhead created an image of the American flag in the night sky. "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," she said just before jumping off of the edge of the roof.
Anchored by wires, Gaga was brought down to meet the audience gathered down below, as she began performing "Poker Face." The singer, backed by a multitude of dancers, then transitioned to a choreographed medley of her songs "The Edge of Glory" and "Born This Way" and a snippet of her collaboration with Beyonce, "Telephone."
Grabbing a keyboard and donning a glittery, gold jacket, Gaga then began belting the lyrics to "Just Dance," walking down from the stage platform and into the audience.
In an emotional turning point of her set, Gaga sat behind a piano and crooned her latest single "Million Reasons" as audience members waved light sticks. "Hello America ... we're here to make you feel good," she told the crowd, giving one fan a warm embrace.
The singer ended her halftime show with an electrifying performance of "Bad Romance." Dressed in a cropped, white top (structured to resemble a football uniform's shoulder pads) and decorated silver hot pants, she commanded the stage as red, white and blue beams shone all over the stadium. Gaga dropped her mic and caught a football mid-air as she jumped from the stage and fireworks signaled the end of halftime.
Despite speculation that the singer would use the high-profile platform to make a political statement following national uproar over President Donald Trump's recent immigration ban and nationwide Women's Marches, Gaga opted not to send any politically charged messages or make mentions of Donald Trump onstage. She notably campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election and protested outside of Trump Tower after Trump was elected president.
Rumors arose that Gaga was told by the NFL to avoid discussing politics during her performance, but reps refuted all claims, insisting that she had complete artistic freedom in planning her set.
The "Perfect Illusion" singer posted a message to her fans, collectively known as Little Monsters, on Instagram just before game time, publicly revealing that no guest performers would be joining her onstage. She wrote that her solo performance would be dedicated to "every second to the love, diversity, compassion, and wild spirit of our fan base."
"To that kid who felt unwanted, or the grown up who remembers how hard it was to find acceptance. This is for you. It is also for those whose hearts and minds have opened to our message," Gaga's post read. "Thank you for believing in us so we could be here today little monsters this is YOUR stage."
I want to say thank you to my fans for cheering me on all these years. There will not be any guest performers tonight, I'm doing these 13 minutes solo! I dedicate every second to the love, diversity, compassion, and wild spirit of our fan base. To that kid who felt unwanted, or the grown up who remembers how hard it was to find acceptance. This is for you. It is also for those whose hearts and minds have opened to our message. Thank you for believing in us so we could be here today little monsters this is YOUR stage. And I'm gonna leave my heart on it so you never forget it. Let's do this. Xoxo Love, Gaga p.s I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
The songstress, who commanded her 12-minute set alone, is the eighth headliner in the halftime show’s history to perform without any special musical guests. Though she wasn't joined onstage by any other singers, in a pre-produced halftime countdown segment, her Cheek to Cheek collaborator Tony Bennett made a brief appearance.
Last year, the pop star made waves when she opened Super Bowl 50 with a powerful performance of the national anthem.
The Atlanta Falcons were in the lead against the New England Patriots by the score of 21-3 just as the Super Bowl LI halftime show took place.