Lady Gaga soars over Super Bowl stage with bow to inclusion

Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston
Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, Texas, U.S., February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

February 6, 2017

(This February 5 has been corrected in paragraph 2 to add the words “under God” in quote)

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Standing atop the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium with drones illuminating an American flag in the night sky behind her, Lady Gaga kicked off her Super Bowl halftime set on Sunday by singing “God Bless America” as a subtle message of inclusion and unity in a deeply divided United States.

As many speculated about whether the outspoken singer would use her spotlight to address women’s rights, immigration or President Donald Trump, Gaga recited part of the American Pledge of Allegiance, “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” in her opening song.

She then swung down from the roof to a stage suspended on cables and embarked on a meticulously choreographed 13-minute set of her greatest hits during the National Football League championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

This year’s Super Bowl followed a fierce presidential election campaign that Trump won in November but which left the country at least as fractured afterwards as before it began. Trump was greeted with massive protests just after taking office on Jan. 20, and his policy moves have sparked further protests and controversy in the first weeks of his presidency.

Ahead of her high-profile performance, watched by more than 100 million U.S. viewers, Gaga, 30, said in a post on the Instagram social media network that she planned to headline the slot entirely on her own, eschewing a tradition of halftime main acts bringing on special guests.

Dressed in a silver, sequined bodysuit and matching heeled boots, Gaga sang her dance hits “Poker Face” and “Born This Way” – an anthem for self-confidence and inclusion – as she performed aerial acrobatics while suspended in the air.

She then descended onto the stage to dance through “Telephone” and “Just Dance” before running through the crowd to a piano, where she sang her new song, “Million Reasons,” giving a shout-out to her parents while she performed.

After joining her diverse cadre of dancers for “Bad Romance,” the singer, known for her flair for the dramatic, ended her set by dropping her microphone, catching a football and jumping off a set of stairs onto the field.

While Gaga avoided making explicit political statements during her set, it was Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, the Schuyler sisters on hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” who caused a stir with a subtle statement of support for women.

As the trio sang “America the Beautiful” before the start of the game, they added the words “and sisterhood,” in the first verse that contained the words “And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

The addition was immediately picked up on social media and became a top trend on Twitter.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

  • Senor C O Jones

    Her fans and NFL fans are not one and the same….. All to keep people in the seats to watch the lamer Ads. 84 Lumber, what was that all about?

  • Clinicaleducator1

    Thank god she kept her clothes on!!!

  • alvin swenson

    She looked like a pole dancer. Kept waiting for her to have a costume malfunction.

  • From someone who isn’t a fan of hers, she was fabulous!

  • Widl Man

    She sucked and she mad e her political statement by singing “This Lands is My Land”-a very social economic rendition of a 1940s song that that slammed corporate America as well as the government on inequality of the riches of the land.

    She also stole the roof lowering event idea from Reba McIntyre from the Houston Rodeo of the the 1980s to early 1990s. Lady Gag Gag will never be a Reba McIntyre kind of voice or singer no matter what she tries to sing and I sure it was Lip Sync’s as well.

  • Uncle Roddy

    Yeah Reuters, that line refers to CITIZENS not illegal loafers, squatters, and terrorists.