On Tuesday, it was announced that Lady Gaga would be singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl 50. It'll be the first time she performs at a Super Bowl, and she'll join the ranks of artists who've had the privilege of singing the national anthem, such as Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Beyonce and most famously, Whitney Houston.
Gaga is best known for her outlandish outfits, most notably the meat dress she wore at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, and a human-sized egg at the 2011 Grammys that was ultimately utilized in a performance for her song "Born This Way":
Gaga is an accomplished musician, having won multiple Grammys, most recently for her duet album Cheek to Cheek with legendary singer Tony Bennett. Outside of music, she's also an actress -- she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for her role in American Horror Story: Hotel -- and an LGBT rights activist. She also co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her mother Cynthia Germanotta in 2011, which aims to empower young people who have been bullied. (SB Nation's parent company Vox Media has a partnership with the Born This Way Foundation and Intel for the Hack Harassment initiative, which focuses on curbing online abuse.)
Lady Gaga is a sensible choice for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." For one, she's still one of the biggest pop stars in modern music, and she will no doubt be a ratings pull for her worldwide fans. And when one looks past the campy, strange nature of her outfits and performances, Gaga is a truly beautiful singer. The best guess for why the NFL considered Lady Gaga as an option in the first place might be her performance at the 2015 Academy Awards, where she sang a stirring tribute medley to The Sound of Music, which was a side of her most people have never seen before:
Given her reputation in the public, there is some concern whether she'll try to use the opportunity to make a political statement, as she once did in 2013. She previously sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a gay pride rally in New York, but slightly altered the lyrics to reflect LGBT rights -- the crowd at the rally loved it, while, of course, others had some backlash. However, that was an instance where being tongue-in-cheek at a gay pride rally was welcome; the Super Bowl is an entirely different beast, with millions of diverse eyes watching their screens, waiting to be entertained.
It remains to be seen if Gaga will do that, although the chances of that happening seem low, considering that performing the national anthem is just as high-profile as performing in the halftime show, and the NFL takes their productions seriously. (Lest we forget about what happened after Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's "Nipplegate" incident.) If all goes well for the NFL, what you'll see and hear from Gaga will most likely be similar to her Oscars performance or even Whitney Houston's rendition (although that's an unfair bar for anyone to leap over, because that performance is legendarily untouchable.)
Lady Gaga will perform the national anthem around 6:15 p.m. ET on CBS, right before the coin toss and kickoff.
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