In 2004, the last time the Super Bowl was in Houston, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" ushered in a new era of safe, predictable Super Bowl halftime shows. Though performances from Tom Petty, the Who, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars and the Rolling Stones were admirable enough (not to mention the epic, rain-soaked 2007 Prince performance), there hasn't been much exciting unpredictability in recent years.
Lady Gaga went about changing that this year, and the buzz surrounding what her show would entail has been as entertaining as the actual halftime show usually is.
Would she use the grandest, most visible stage on TV to rail against the new president and his controversial policies?
Would she produce something less than family friendly, as she's been known to do?
The biggest question leading up to the duel between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Tom Bradys was if she would perform on top of Houston's NRG Stadium. On the roof or on the turf, something more entertaining than the first half of 21-3 football would suffice. And as it happened, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta delivered an undeniably entertaining show, though it was not as wild as we had hoped.
Dressed in a sparkling leotard and matching knee-high boots, Lady Gaga indeed began on top of the stadium near where the retractable roof opens with a patriotic medley of "God Bless America," followed by a key excerpt from the "Pledge of Allegiance." After descending down with the help of cables holding her waist, a fun, Broadway-style "Poker Face" set the tone followed by "Born this Way."
There were more dancing, more hits and more lights, but not much in the way of the freaky danger that's been missing for so long. Yes, the prominent use of the underappreciated keytar was a nice surprise, and being reminded of how killer a pop anthem "Bad Romance" is was cool, but after it was all sang and done, it wasn't transcendent in the way past performances from Michael Jackson, U2 or that rainy Prince set were.