Lady Gaga is one of the most innovative, award-winning, beloved, and iconic artists of our time. It's not just that she writes and records amazing music, she also knows how to put on one hell of a show. Ever since she made her first televised performance in 2008, she's been pushing the boundaries of what pop stars can do.
From the Grammys to the Oscars,, Gaga always brings down the house when she performs at an award show. But she also knows how to rock a Superbowl Halftime show, Royal Variety Perforance, and even a Presidential Inaguration. Oh, and don't think we've left out the VMAs where she's showed the whole music world how big pop can be.
Here are our picks for Lady Gaga's 12 most iconic live television performances.
There's no other way to say it, this was a cultural reset. Most of us had never seen anything like this when Lady Gaga showed up at her first MTV VMAs dressed all in white lace and lingerie singing her darkly catchy hit "Paparazzi." The first half of the performance is reminiscent of Madonna or Britney Spears with an edge and amazing piano skills. But then, three minutes and twenty seconds into the song, in the middle of the chorus blood starts to pour out of Gaga's chest while you can hear gasps from the audience. The whole thing ends with Gaga hanging from the ceiling smeared in her own blood.
The set made me gay and changed pop music and live performances forever.
It was an anthem that defined an era. "Born This Way" was the song everyone was singing, dancing to, and talking about in 2011, and when it came to performing the queer anthem on a national stage, Gaga did not disappoint. First, she arrived to the Grammys in an egg, then gave a dynamic and electric performance, dancing across the stage with facial prosthetics and a pink high ponytail. Add in a pipe organ solo halfway through, and this is what we mean when we say iconic.
This performance started with a three minute monologue in character as Jo Calderone, Lady Gaga's male persona. After talking about Gaga wearing heels in the shower, theater and the spotlight, and even hiding her face while she orgasms, Calderone sits down at a piano and delivers one of her all-time greatest performances. Gaga sings the Springsteen-inspired ballad dancing with a troupe of beefy male dancers, drinking a beer on the piano, and even throws in a special appearance from Queen guitarist Brian May. It's the high theatrics Gaga thrives at.
The costume changes! The choreography! The story telling! This was classic Artpop Gaga. Singing her hit song "Applause," the singer put on a retrospective of sorts, cycling through a series of costume and wig changes representing some of her previous eras. Then, when you think it couldn't get better, she emerges in a sea shell bikini and and huge blonde wig and slays the entire audience. Oh yeah, and she's dancing the whole time.
Lady Gaga was already a global superstar when she performed this tribute to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music, but singing classic songs at such a prestigious event opened her up to a whole new audience. Everyone's mom's and grandma's were calling them, saying "who's this Gaga woman who sang at the Oscars, she has a beautiful voice!?" She's not just a pop star, she's a superstar.
Wearing a stunning floor-length pink gown and accompanied by an orchestra, Gaga let her vocals do the heavy lifting on this perfornace of the hit ballad from Joanne, "A Million Reasons." While we love her dancing and artistic costumes, sometimes you just need the raw power of Lady Gaga's vocals, and that's what we get here.
Performing her powerful, Oscar-nominated song "Till It Happens To You" at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, Gaga brought us all to tears. The song was written for the documentary The Hunting Ground, about campus sexual assault. As she sang passionately while playing at a white grand piano, she was joined on stage by over 50 survivors of sexual assault. It's a beautiful and poignant moment, just the kind Lady Gaga is known for.
After singing a mashup of "God Bless America" and "This Land is Your Land" from the top of the stadium with drones flying behind her, Gaga dove down hundreds of feet to the stage on wires where she performed a medley of hits. Everyone knew that a Lady Gaga Halftime Show would be spectacular, but we weren't prepared for this. Singing parts of "Poker Face," "Born This Way," "Telephone," "Just Dance," "A Million Reasons," and ending with "Bad Romance," all while flying through the air and dancing across the stage, Gaga brought the whole country to its feet for 13 straight minutes.
This was The Moment. After a year of A Star is Born, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed their global super hit duet "Shallow" at the Academy Awards, where Gaga would later pick up an award for the song. As with all her projects, Gaga put her whole heart and body into A Star is Born and seeing her get recognized for it on the Oscars stage was a beautiful mement in her storied career.
When the whole world was at it's wits end after being trapped inside all summer, Gaga delivered a futureristic, mask-focused performance of hits from her latest album Chromatica. Every Little Monster was looking forward to seeing what the Chromatica tour would look like, and while we didn't get that, at least we got this nine minute performance featuring Ariana Grande and the kind of dancing we've missed in promo from from Joanne and A Star is Born.
On a day when millions of people were finally able to let out a collective sigh of relief, Lady Gaga was there to make sure enough enormity was given to the moment. Dressed in a custom Schiaparelli dress with a golden dove on her chest, Gaga sang the hell out of the National Anthem. Accompanied by the United States Marine Band, Gaga's vocals soared above the capital.