HOUSTON — Lady Gaga’s powerful Super Bowl LI halftime performance didn’t have any of the overt political statements that some people were expecting — but it did have a message about inclusion.
The roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium opened as the Grammy winner opened the show singing “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land.”
Then, before Gaga jumped from the roof, she concluded her emotional intro by quoting from the Pledge of Allegiance: “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” with a clear emphasis on the “for all” part.
Behind her, hundreds of LED drones lit up the sky in the shape of an American flag. It’s the first time the Super Bowl halftime show has incorporated drones.
Then she plunged from the roof to sing many of her hit songs, including “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” and “Bad Romance.
When she sang her 2011 hit, “Born This Way,” she again offered another clear message of acceptance by choosing to sing lyrics from a verse towards the end of the song: “No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive.”
Gaga has long been outspoken on the issue of LGBTQ rights, and the presence of Vice President Mike Pence in the audience at the game may have played a role in that message.
Social media was buzzing with both fans offering their support along with those thanking the singer for mostly keeping politics out of the show.
The roof closed again as soon as the show was over. Some of the smoke and haze from the show escaped, but not all of it. As happens frequently at the Super Bowl — particularly those indoors — there was a haze for the start of the second half.
The New England Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons 21-3 at halftime. The Patriots have won four straight games indoors. Their last defeat was Super Bowl 46 after the 2011 season, a 21-17 loss to the New York Giants.