TGJ Roundtable: Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Review

Published: Monday 6th Feb 2017 by Sam

Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on…

Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

Sam

Lady Gaga was incredible!

But before delving into why, a little context…

Having seen a fair share of artists come and go over the years, I’ve always noted evolution as an important ingredient of longevity. As such, when Gaga decided to strip things back for ‘Joanne’ I appreciated both the output but more so the reasoning for it. 

For the Super Bowl, however, I longed for the Dance-Pop Gaga that made 2008-2011 such a memorable time in music. The extravagance, the high-octane choreography, and the copious amounts crazy. As a fan of her talent, I also longed for her to really show up and show out on that front, as the eccentricity made many forget she can actually “sing-sing.”

With that, then, it’s little surprise that I’m on cloud 9 as I write this. Because, put simply, she slayed. 

Drawing on Olympic like precision, she used her 13-minute slot to effectively tick-box everything I could have wanted from her on a stage of this magnitude. 

Sandwiched between her epic airborne intro and outro was a well curated career-spanning set that was electrifying, ostentatious, and superbly sung… live. 

Folk often have so much to say about the 30-year-old (with many not seeming to know what they want from her). But last night she ensured that her name will be etched in the history books as one of the most prolific and arresting talents of her time. 

All in all, Gaga scored an almighty touchdown. And for any in doubt, just check iTunes

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David

Gaga’s performance, as all of us expected, made for an awesome watch.

From her innovative use of drones to mimic stars to her rousing renditions of ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Bad Romance’, the set was everything it was supposed to be.

Alas, that may be its biggest problem. It lacked a headline making moment Gaga needed to propel into Madonna/ Michael Jackson territory.

Unfortunately, by not addressing today’s volatile social climate, one of the Pop’s more educated and authentically “woke” stars missed out on an opportunity to speak directly to what has become a timorous and arguably divided country.

Still, none of this changes the fact that it was a brilliant live show.

I look forward to seeing more of it on the ‘Joanne World Tour.’

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Rashad

I…was…underwhelmed.

Please don’t confuse that with “disappointed,” however. I loved the showing overall and thought Gaga did well. She commanded the stage and, unlike some other Halftime Show performing Pop stars who shall remain nameless, WAS the show and did not rely on props, visuals, and dancers to make the show happen around her.

That victory, however, was also the problem. Gaga has made a name for herself for doing both – being the show and delivering the spectacle. So why, after years of performances with dramatics galore (see: hanging herself, fiery pianos, explosive bras, and the like) did she wait until she got on the BIGGEST STAGE ON EARTH to deliver her SAFEST performance to date?

Granted, I know post-Janet Jackson that the Super Bowl is not the place to really “try it” with anything even covertly sexual, political, religious, etc. But, that shouldn’t stop one from being artistically daring. This was the time for Gaga to remind people not only is she a performing machine, but that she is still THAT girl who pushes the visual envelope by doing things on stage her peers would never even have dreamed of.

Either way, even in the absence of WOW moments – it was a good show. Will it be remembered as one of the greatest ever? Hardly. P.S. – The ‘Telephone’ portion did slay I must say. For as much as I wanted Bey to come out I realize how important it is that this moment be all Gaga’s.

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Joe

 Touchdown, home-run, and all that jazz…

Lady Gaga smashed her Superbowl Halftime performance last night reminding the whole world why you should never ever count her (or anyone) out.

Front-loaded with a smart pick of her biggest hits, it was a high-octane affair yet very personable and ironically intimate at times. 

Though she’s been more toned down and rarely seen without her pink ‘Joanne’ hat as of late, I was happy to find Gaga in full “Gaga-Mode” on top of that stadium and throughout the rest of the show. Disco stick, people!

Musically, everything made sense, wise choice to open with ‘God Bless America’ which will automatically be considered a subtle dig at POTUS Donald Trump. I wasn’t expecting ‘Telephone’ so I was pleasantly surprised by its inclusion. And YES I was praying for pregnant Beyoncé to come out of somewhere, although Mother Monster had absolutely no issues dominating the stage on her own.

Through spectacular staging, Team Gaga managed to capture the power embedded in songs like ‘Born This Way’ and ‘Bad Romance’ and turn them into monster moments. Elsewhere, the vulnerability of ‘Million Reasons’ gave the audience the real touchdown of the performance where the singer’s talent was more visible then ever.

With that said, I must address the elephant in the room: sans ‘Million Reasons’ –  every song was from Golden-Age Gaga. In other words ‘The Fame’ to ‘Born This Way,’ which perhaps highlights the lack of commercially potent material from Ms. Germanota over the past 5 years.

All that aside, my main wish for Gaga is that this showing, as well as its glorious reception, leads her back to the road of “edgy-and-out-of-the-box-while-still-mass-being—mass-appealing-POP-music.” Put simply, a return to the sound which allowed her to rock the stage yesterday like the rockstar she is.

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Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on Lady Gaga’s Halftime performance!

Your thoughts?

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  1. Jo February 6, 2017

    “Unfortunately, by not addressing today’s volatile social climate, one of the Pop’s more educated and authentically “woke” stars missed out on an opportunity to speak directly to what has become a timorous and arguably divided country.”

    Great point. Like most artists, Gaga latched onto the demographic she knew would make her a star—the gays and misfits. She played it safe last night because she saw opportunity for mass appeal. She gives two shits about the gay community and that’s real.

    • LISA LEVINE February 6, 2017

      A part of me, hopes shes sincere with her love for the Gay community and not just a fame W_hore olding onto the community that pays her bills via concert tickets and music sales. I really think, well over the past 2 years she has changed and seems to be sincere, less creepy and showcased that she’s a great vocalist.

    • IG: @mixedboy February 6, 2017

      Granted she could’ve used this platform to address the social climate, she’s been doing it for years. I honestly didn’t wanna see that. We have since the election. America is exhausted and just for one day I think it was okay to be silent and just enjoy the game.

      • Onyourwrostday February 6, 2017

        Why are we all acting like the NFL didn’t tell Gaga no political talk

  2. RihNaj February 6, 2017

    Amen Rashad ?

  3. JaVonni Brustow February 6, 2017

    How America the Beautiful is a dig at Donald Trump is beyond me. That is BEYOND reaching. I’m glad she chose to leave politics out of her performance. Just sing like you were damn asked to. We know how she feels about Trump and we know she’s a great performer. It’s possible to simply do your job without any soap box grandstanding. Leave that to Madonna and Ashley Judd. One just got ass implants and the other never sought therapy from childhood incest. She’s better than that. She did great as usual

  4. JOHNVIDAL February 6, 2017

    I´m gonna be honest: she killed it.
    Only her catalogue she herself cocreates, all the show by HERSELF, and all of it LIVE (first time in years).
    I don´t know how some people refuse to give her shine when she obviously slays like this everytime she appears on an important event.

  5. 2bad2bme February 6, 2017

    I’m with Rashad. It was all predictable. No actual surprises

    • JOHNVIDAL February 6, 2017

      You could also see it from a different perspective and say she didn´t need the help of any guests 🙂

      • blue February 6, 2017

        A+

  6. sam is TRASH February 6, 2017

    It was predicable and I was just shocked that someone who “care so much about society” didn’t use the stage to speak up. What a waste, but I guess it’s all an act.

    • anthony February 6, 2017

      you have to be pretty damn dense to not get the several political messages strewn about the performance.

      look up “this land is your land” and why it was mad and what it means.

      look up the LGBT verse in “born this way”.

      just, like, actually watch the performance and try to think critically. her performance wasn’t any less nuanced than beyonce’s and y’all got that one quite easily.

  7. ?Yellow Diamonds? February 6, 2017

    It wasn’t all that, again no shade after rewatching I still wasn’t here for it. She had the right songs tho I would have replaced telephone with something else considering Beyoncé wasn’t there. Perhaps Like paparazzi or something. It just wasn’t clicking for me.

  8. Pat February 6, 2017

    She played it safe purposely . She wanted middle America back on her sidr and by the looks of iTunes it worked. Smart performance

    • ?Yellow Diamonds? February 6, 2017

      Well the albums are 6.99 and the singles are 69 cents. I mean who wouldn’t buy a song at that price? It’s cheaper than a pack of wrigleys gum.

      • anthony February 6, 2017

        what kind of gum are you buying that’s $6.99? i think you’re being ripped off.

      • ?Yellow Diamonds? February 7, 2017

        I’m talking about the singles you idiot.

  9. The Wig Snatcher February 6, 2017

    Rashad is the only writer who is on point here.

    • blue February 6, 2017

      And even he said he wasnt disappointed. being underwhelmed just means you expected more and thats basically because of his being used to getting more from gaga

      • The Wig Snatcher February 6, 2017

        Exactly. Gaga entertained the hell out of that show, but there was no “wow” moment for me.

  10. Tori February 6, 2017

    Can I please see the receipt that it costed Beyonce and Parkwood $7 Million to air a commercial please. No shade, I REALLY want to know if that’s true!

    • SMH February 6, 2017

      Lol it’s not true. Just another delusion from beyonce fans’ imaginations.

      • Tori February 6, 2017

        LMAO, no I have to SEE THESE receipt. I’ve never heard this before, even when she was the headliner in 2013 and announced her come back tour but they pop up a year after she appeared at the Superbowl for 2 minutes the 2nd time…Like a full year exact? And it costed $7 million for her, Parkwood, Live Nation, SONY & Columbia to play “Freedom” instrumental over 1- random clip art, 2- random shots from “Rocket” & “Superpower”, 3- the literal backing video from the MIA show from 2015. PLEASE SHOW ME THE F*CKING RECEIPTS STATING THAT LAZY ASS COMMERCIAL COSTED $7 MILLION!

  11. Molly #Stargirl February 6, 2017

    Girl it was cute but Katy had me more hype during hers maybe cause she has better music.

  12. Weezy Tha Goat February 6, 2017

    It was horrible. Rihanna should get the slot next year.

  13. Shakira Stan February 6, 2017

    She was brilliant, a few shaky vocals but the props, the transition and artistry was up there. She is so young but has managed to perform like a legend.
    Here is hoping Rihanna performs next year.

    • JOHNVIDAL February 6, 2017

      The few shaky vocals were due to the fact she sang the ENTIRE thing live. Something not seen in years. She slayed. It must be so demanding to perfrom like that for so many minutes.

  14. Shakira Stan February 6, 2017

    I really wouldn’t blame gaga if she never spoke of Trump again, she campaigned tirelessly for Hilary, was among the celebrities actually pictured casting their votes and cried when she lost. Still Americans voted Trump, perhaps she has had enough and actually telling everyone f*** it, you made your bed go lie on it. Trump’s policies will never affect her, she is an incredibly rich white woman, who happens to be a complete citizen.

  15. Wuki February 6, 2017

    I agree with Joe “sans ‘Million Reasons’ – every song was from Golden-Age Gaga. In other words ‘The Fame’ to ‘Born This Way,’ which perhaps highlights the lack of commercially potent material from Ms. Germanota over the past 5 years.” Can we atleast get ‘Dancing In Circles’ as a single please and another dance/pop album before 2018. I love Gaga and her performance!

  16. Oana Radu February 6, 2017

    At least she left that stupid pink hat home… I m surprised

  17. JanStan February 6, 2017

    Gagas goal was to have fun and even if for only 13 minutes she was giving people a reason to relax and forget the mess that was going on. It worked amazingly well. Of course she slayed the stage to ashes. She ALWAYS does. While singing live. Queen.

  18. Mark111 /.\ February 6, 2017

    It was far from bad, but nothing epic. It was way too soon for her, at least have a guest for a throwback. Her music only dates back to 2008, outside of the youth, she left the older audience out. Missy was Katy’s throwback, so it worked. Red Hot Chilipeppers were Bruno’s throwback. Madonna have the hits that went back to the 80’s and had every new trend (at that time) for the current, plus her new song. Beyonce was on year 10 solo and DC was the throwback. Her show was ju7st another show instead of being a staple nor did it have a message. She didn’t even promote her tour, she will never have a bigger audience than that ever again.

    • Tori February 6, 2017

      What was the message from BeyonceTori 2013 show or Bruno Mars 2014 show?

  19. LOL February 6, 2017

    LMAO DEATH @ ALL THESE SEETHING BYTCHES AND THEIR ESSAYS LMAO! GAGA SLAYED, THAT’S ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID LOL.

  20. Mase February 6, 2017

    Slay Gaga

  21. anthony February 6, 2017

    “THAT girl who pushes the visual envelope by doing things on stage her peers would never even have dreamed of”

    she did that by simply singing live. not sure how singing on the roof, being suspended in the air, fire, live singing, full choreography, etc. are not “daring” or “big moments”. i mean, katy’s performance was literally her walking around on a giant white sheet with projections. beyonce did her little dance thing like she always does. gaga incorporated several elements, used the entire field, the roof, the sky above the venue, and had an entirely choreographed crowd.

    what performance did you watch if you didn’t see any big moments?

  22. @ASAPicon February 6, 2017

    I enjoyed the nostalgic HITS. Nouf’ said.

  23. JoJ February 6, 2017

    Just hearing gaga perform those songs from her hey days brought so much good memories. gaga was a religion, she was everything a beyonce would wish for. Everyone was scalped. She nearly reached the fame level of Jesus, beyonce wishes. Too bad all her fake fans ‘got tired’of her. But she needs to go back to making bangers like she used to. She wont peak like before but she will certainly last in the game. I love her music. Loved her halftime show

  24. Coolnesss February 7, 2017

    Okay, so Gaga is clearly talented and one of the best performers of her generation (and of all time, tbh). However, while her opening was solid, the energy went down for me soon after. That’s why I agree with Rashad with being underwhelmed. All in all, Gaga’s showing was great and she deserves all the success and praise. I need some clarification on something though. I always see people say that they miss the old Gaga but then turn around and say that there gimmicks often took away from her talent. Goes to show that people really don’t know what they want from certain artists and just operate with a group think mentality.

  25. A&R February 7, 2017

    I’m a big lady Gaga supporter but I believe her Super Bowl performance was a 7 out of 10. I miss her and Laurianne Gibson working together. I wish the setlist was in a different order and included Applause. I also wanted for them to hit the choreo with more passion. It was clean but I wanted the energy to have that… this is a once in a lifetime performance… feel/look. You can’t relive or recreate your first super bowl performance? The costumes and her voice was was awesome though.
    Please let Rihanna or Usher be next.

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