Gaga started on the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium, singing a mashup of American classics — “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land,” and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance” — as red, white, and blue drones aligned in the background. She literally jumped down to midfield, tethered by a rope. And then she got into her set.
Once she got to field level, she brought the house down. Flanked by a team of purple-and-black-clad dancers, Gaga was energetic. She started in a glistening blue costume and some matching, shining boots, with a partial makeup mask covering her eyes, but she changed wardrobes (along with her background dances) to a white-and-silver look later on in the show, with a top that looked kind of like a set of football shoulder pads.
Her set list from the field at NRG Stadium: “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” “Hello, Hello,” “Just Dance,” “Million Reasons,” and “Bad Romance.” She ended her show by throwing her microphone off the stage, catching a ball, and jumping out of the Fox frame.
At one point, during “Million Reasons,” a song about deciding whether to leave or stay with a lover, Gaga shouted out her parents, watching somewhere in the stadium or on TV. She hugged fans during the middle of songs, and she soaked everything in. Even for a huge star, this was a Moment with a capital M.
Gaga, 30, is a six-time Grammy winner, and she also won a 2015 Golden Globe. Her fifth studio album, Joanne, came out last fall. She earned widespread acclaim for her on-screen performance in American Horror Story: Hotel, and she is slated to appear in Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, due out by 2018.
Prior to her performance on Sunday, Gaga was one of the biggest musical stars in the world who hadn’t taken this stage. She followed Coldplay, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Beyonce, and Madonna as lead acts over the last five years.
The halftime show is a huge gig, happening right in the middle of what’s commonly the United States’ biggest annual television event. The Super Bowl’s halftime normally lasts close to a half-hour, roughly twice the period of time that’s set aside during a regular NFL game.