US & Canada

All about Lady Gaga's Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga performs at half-time show at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas. Photo: 5 February 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Did Lady Gaga nail it?

First things first: is Lady Gaga OK? She was last seen dropping the mic, grabbing a flying football and seemingly jumping into a deep pit.

That all came at the end of 13 minutes of frantic action that started on the roof of a stadium in Houston, saw her plummet down to ground level before apparently running a few kilometres. All while singing, and fitting in one costume change. Not bad.

The consensus was that Lady Gaga nailed it - it being the half-time show of the Super Bowl, the big date in any American football fan's diary.

In doing so, she followed such names as the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Beyonce (more on her later.)

But there was one big question before the game: how political would her show be? So, naturally, our first question is:

How political was her show?

In the past, Lady Gaga has not been shy in addressing the questions that matter most to her, most notably LGBTQ issues.

The show took place barely two weeks since the inauguration of Donald Trump, who is reported to have been preparing an executive order rolling back LGBTQ rights.

And given that her show came a year after Beyonce's blistering, politically-charged half-time show, all the expectations were that Gaga's show would be a platform for some sort of pointed message.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lady Gaga did some acrobatics, before dropping her mic and disappearing somewhere in a pit

So in the end, it was perhaps a bit of a surprise that there was not a more explicit message delivered.

It was what she had promised, to be fair.

"The only statements that I'll be making during the half-time show are the ones that I've been consistently making throughout my career," she had said. And so it proved.

There were no dancers dressed as Black Panthers, a la Beyonce.

But we did get a brief introduction incorporating the lyrics of Woody Guthrie "This land is your land/This land is my land" and the Pledge of Allegiance "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

To those seeking a political statement from Lady Gaga, it did the job. And it will have appeared purely as a patriotic message to everyone else. So win-win.

But one moment did stand out for those watching - one of the six songs she delivered was a message to all those who feel excluded, Born This Way.

"No matter gay, straight or bi/Lesbian, transgendered life/I'm on the right track baby/I was born to survive."

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

(It may not have been a coincidence that this song was chosen, given the presence in the stadium of Vice-President Mike Pence, a bete noire of the LGBTQ movement).

So, did Lady Gaga perform a Satanic ritual?

Apparently not.

In the build-up to the Super Bowl, this was actually a concern of the right-wing organisation Infowars.

There were no immediate reports by Houston Police of Satanic activity on Sunday night.

What about the adverts?

Well, this is one place where there was an unmistakable message, on a weekend in which a ban on new arrivals to the US from seven Muslim-majority nations was blocked by a judge.

That message was: "We're all one nation together, and we respect where people come from and the journey they took to get here."

This was most obvious in the advert by Airbnb showing people of different colours under the hashtag #weaccept - an ad apparently produced in only a few days last week.

"We believe no matter who you are, where you're from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong," the advert said. "The world is more beautiful the more you accept."

The company, which has been attacked in the past for not being inclusive enough, went on to announce a programme to support refugees.

It was obvious too, in the advert for a lumber company showing the journey made by a family from Central America to the States (a longer version posted online shows them arriving at a huge wall, only to find someone had built a door into it).

Image copyright Twitter

And it was obvious too in the advert by a leading beer company showing the (no doubt fictionalised) struggle its founder had in moving to the US.

All reports in Florida, where Mr Trump was on a brief trip, indicate he did not watch the whole match. He did not tweet his opinion of Lady Gaga's show.

So who won?

Image copyright EPA

What happened on the field was equally dramatic. The team in white from Boston made an astonishing recovery, coming back from 28-3 down in the third quarter to beat the team in red from Atlanta in the first overtime in Super Bowl history. Final score: 34-28.

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