On Sunday, February 5th, Lady Gaga will take to the stage at the NRG Stadium Houston, Texas, for what will probably be the most watched concert of her career.
Playing at the halftime show at a Superbowl is no small task, but Gaga has a long list of legendary performances she can draw inspiration from.
In no particular order, here are 7 of them.
Michael Jackson (1993)
Jackson’s 1993 performance in Pasadena marked the beginning of the Super Bowl halftime show as an event in its own right.
In the years BJ (Before Jackson), it was common for local dance troupes and marching bands to fill the minutes until the second half kicked off.
Jackson’s legendary show was epoch-making – can Lady Gaga pull something similar out of the bag?
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (2004)
Can anyone recall what songs they sang?
The 2004 Super Bowl halftime show is remembered for one reason, and one reason alone. It was an event of such magnitude it introduced a new term into our vernacular: the wardrobe malfunction.
Justin Timberlake played the supporting role; far more supporting than Jackson’s blouse, as it turned out.
Nobody would be surprised if Lady Gaga somehow produced similar levels of controversy.
Paul McCartney (2005)
A year after the Janet Jackson show went tits up, the NFL turned to one of rock’s safest pair of hands in Paul McCartney.
The former Beatles star’s show closed with the iconic Hey Jude, which McCartney performed sitting down at the piano.
If Lady Gaga wanted to surprise the worldwide audience, she could do similar. Beneath the meat dresses and pyrotechnic bras, Gaga is a very accomplished musician – as you can see in this video.
Katy Perry (2015)
Arriving on a huge mechanical tiger, Perry went on to perform with a dancing beach scene.
The now legendary left shark will never be forgotten – certainly not as much as he forgot his routine. Perry later left riding a shooting star, as you do.
As wacky entertainment goes, intentional or not, even Lady Gaga could pick up some tips from this halftime show for her own.
Not many performers can instruct the weather to make their amazing Super Bowl halftime show even better, but Prince managed it.
He provided the purple and the heavens provided the rain.
It was the perfect end to one of the best Super Bowl shows ever, and remains a highlight in the late, great man’s long career showreel.
There’s no doubt Lady Gaga can play and sing, but she might need similar mastery of the atmospheric conditions to compete with this.
Plenty for Lady Gaga to get inspired by here.
Vogue-ing with Roman gladiators, having a guest singer (M.I.A.) giving the world the middle finger, a routine showing the NFL cheerleaders how it’s done (or isn’t depending on your viewpoint), and ending with a robed choir for Like a Prayer.
Surrealism, controversy, raunch, and a spiritual finale.
Take your pick, Lady Gaga.
Before performing with Coldplay and Bruno Mars in 2016, Beyonce made her Super Bowl debut in 2013.
The show included a reunion with former Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, and a spot where Beyonce was flanked by countless animated versions of herself.
While Lady Gaga doesn’t have the famous former bandmates to call on and the multiple-identical-versions-of-me thing has been done, she does have enough creative personas of her own to fill a stage many times over.
Whether she takes inspiration from any of the past Super Bowl halftime performances or comes up with something completely new and unique, which is probably more likely, here’s hoping she puts on a show worthy of being featured on future lists like this.