There has never been a better time for Lady Gaga to perform at the Super Bowl than 2017.
Following the October release of her country-tinged all-American opus Joanne, the pop star finds herself in a flattering position; for once in her career, she has enough “normal” material to satiate the masses that tune into the annual Halftime Show, but still has nearly 10 years’ worth of oddball hit singles at her disposal.
So, what can we expect? And what will Gaga present to the football-watching masses this Sunday?
First off, Gaga confirmed yesterday that she will, in fact, perform suspended from the roof of NRG Stadium. But beyond that, she’s tight-lipped. “I don’t want to say anything or give away anything specifically about what you will see during the halftime show,” she tells Boston’s Mix 104.1 radio show Karson & Kennedy, “because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone else. But I will tell you that it’s going to be fantastic.”
Gaga’s most recent performance to top would be her David Bowie tribute at the Grammy Awards last year, which featured some edgy special effects from Intel. But other notably graphic performances in her record book include her 2009 VMA suicide stunt and her vomit-paint experiment at SXSW in 2014. Still, with Joanne as her latest release, many fans worry that her halftime performance will be more blah than bravado in an effort to appease the millions of “normal” viewers who don’t have a taste for Gaga’s signature pop noir. Moreover, while Gaga has some hits that are too big to skip (“Bad Romance,” “Born This Way”), another concern is that smaller hits will get the boot to make room for promoting budding singles from Joanne.
Despite the fact that Gaga has frequently posted clips from her journey to Houston on her Snapchat and Instragram, these posts show little more than her three French bulldogs and Gaga and her mum doing cartwheels in the end zone of the NRG Stadium. But amidst all the social media hype, there have been some noteworthy tidbits tucked into the posts. We’ve broken down any and all clues in an attempt to predict what’s to come in Mother Monster’s halftime performance.
On January 30, Pepsi posted a behind-the-scenes video tweet that showed Gaga and her team of dancers rehearsing choreography that fans have connected to both “Bad Romance” and “Applause.” Gaga also talks with her dancers about using every inch of the stage in the clip, demonstrating her usual knack for being as “extra” as possible. And while her flying dress “Volantis” has been retired to an exhibit on drones at the Intrepid Museum in New York City, there’s no telling if she’ll collaborate with Intel again.
“She’s training for this just like an athlete,” says manager Bobby Campbell in the video. “She stops at nothing to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime performance. This is the type of performance that you work a whole lifetime for, and there is no question that she’s absolutely made for this moment.”
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) January 31, 2017
In a post to her Instagram, Gaga confirmed that “it’s gonna be only family on that stage,” which many fans interpreted as confirmation that she won’t invite any special guests onstage for the performance. “Family,” however, remains a loose term. Do Mark Ronson and Beyoncé, both artists Gaga has worked closely with, count as family? The answer is up in the air, but the takeaway is to not expect any cameos from musicians outside of the star’s inner circle.
Gaga’s relative political silence on social media also stands out as unusual in the already turbulent new year. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Gaga had been very vocal about politics and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, but she has been oddly quiet in 2017, even about the controversial decisions made by the new presidential administration. Fans speculate that she is under contract with Pepsi to avoid any political controversy before the big day, but once she hits the stage, all bets are off — and Gaga is never one to remain quiet in the face of prejudice and discrimination. We’re predicting at least one political comment from Mother Monster, probably sandwiched before or after “Born This Way.”
The ultimate clue, however, surfaced last week when Gaga posted a video of her wearing the iconic Monster Ball boots to snapchat. The knee-high lace-up high heels come from an era where Gaga cemented herself as both the next pop icon and the leader of a legion of teenage misfits. If she’s breaking out the Monster Ball boots, it’s almost a surefire omen of the return of the weird ‘n’ wonderful.
— Lady Gaga (@gagamonster96) January 29, 2017
Gaga will also make a second appearance during the evening, this time during a commercial as the new face of Tiffany & Co. The 60-second spot marks the American jewelry company’s first Super Bowl ad to date.
In January, Gaga retweeted a tweet that confirmed the Joanne tour dates have been booked and will be announced following her halftime performance, so no matter who takes home the title as Super Bowl champions, there’s something to look forward to on Monday.
If you miss the halftime performance, we’ll be back on Sunday with a rapid reaction recap of the bustling 12-minute showcase.
Follow Victoria Wasylak on Twitter @VickiWasylak. Featured Gaga image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.