Review: Lady Gaga preaches unity during high-flying Super Bowl set
Minutes before her halftime show at Sunday's Super Bowl 51, Lady Gaga previewed her performance in dramatic black-and-white Tiffany commercial: "I'm coming for you."
Gaga flies through the air onto the NRG Stadium stage.
She wasn't kidding, kicking off her 13-minute performance from the top of Houston's NRG Stadium with an a cappella snippet of God Bless America, before leaping from the roof.
Her opener indicated how the rest of the performance would go — tightly choreographed and perfectly executed, if a little sterile.
Beginning her set wearing an iridescent studded bodysuit and bedazzled boots, Gaga somersaulted through the air onto a stage straight out of Mad Max, performing Poker Face atop a barbaric metal tower. Surrounded by caped dancers, she segued into a theatrical take on Born This Way, complete with a crotch grab straight from Michael Jackson's 1993 halftime show.
As thrilling as her army of dancers was, perhaps she should've stayed on her high-flying wires a little longer, as her halftime's show's risky stunts — and hair-raising surprises — ended as soon as she unhooked from her harness.
Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show during Super Bowl LI in Houston.
Running quickly through her repertoire of hits, Gaga teasing a potential Beyoncé cameo on Telephone (there wasn't one) before emerging in a spiked golden jacket with a keytar for Just Dance, the lyrics projected in lights held by fans on the field. The orbs quickly changed to warm candlelight, as she sat at a piano and declared, "We're here to make you feel good," before a stirring take on Million Reasons that lingered just a little too long.
Gaga's Mad Max-channeling performance continued with the night's best, and last, performance. Backed by a stage full of dancers in dystopian white getups, Gaga quick-changed into a high-waisted crystal underwear and a bedazzled, football uniform-inspired crop top for Bad Romance, flames erupting behind her.
Then, she ascended a stairwell, dropped the mic and leapt out of the frame. Show over.
Lady Gaga performs during the Super Bowl LI halftime show.
After last year's politically-charged statement from Beyoncé during her cameo in Coldplay’s halftime show, and Gaga's history of supporting Democratic causes, many predicted that Gaga would unleash a Trump statement, a political protest that never arrived during her set Sunday.
At her pre-Super Bowl news conference Thursday, she suggested that her performance wouldn't be free of politics. "The only statements I'll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I've been consistently making throughout my career. I believe in a passion for inclusion, the spirit of equality and the spirit of this country, one of love and compassion and kindness," she said.
Not all of the set was a surprise for Gaga fans. Before the game started Sunday, she teased her halftime performance on Instagram, preparing viewers for the lack of Beyoncé-sized surprises. "There will not be any guest performers tonight, I'm doing these 13 minutes solo!" she wrote.
Earlier in the night, Luke Bryan warmed up the Super Bowl crowd with his slow-and-steady rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.