It was labelled “music's biggest moment of the year” by US TV network Fox, and it did not disappoint. Lady Gaga's bombastic half-time performance during last night’s Super Bowl deserved the accolade.
Lady Gaga started her mini-show from the roof of the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, singing a mix of God Bless America and Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land before jumping into the arena, suspended like a puppet on strings, and landing on a metal tower.
As opposed to last year, which saw Coldplay appear with support from Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga performed her 13-minute set without guest stars. But anyone expecting a political statement would have been disappointed, except for a subtle message in the lyrics of Born This Way.
The set comprised mostly old hits rather than material from last October’s Joanne, which peaked in the UK at No.3 and has 90,624 sales to date. After The Edge Of Glory came Poker Face, Born This Way, Telephone and Just Dance. Then there was piano ballad Million Reasons from Joanne, during which she saluted her parents and addressed the audience: “America, the world, how are you doing tonight? We are here to make you feel good. Do you want to feel good with us?”
In front of a crowd including American Vice President Mike Pence, Elton John, John Legend, and John Travolta, she ended the set with Bad Romance, an army of dancers surrounding her as fireworks lit up the stadium. Lady Gaga's NFL gig – sponsored by Pepsi – was, undoubtedly, a touchdown.
Songwriter Diane Warren tweeted: “Gaga Killin this shit!!!!!!”, while former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote: “I’m one of 100 million Super Bowl fans that just went #Gaga for the Lady & her message for us all.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden also tweeted: “Incredible performance from my friend @LadyGaga. You amaze me - and not just onstage. Proud to work with you to end sexual assault. #ItsOnUs.” Fox reported after her performance that there were 41,000 tweets per minute relating to Lady Gaga, while on Facebook, 396,000 people per minute made reference to the singer.
Only time will tell if she can convert a performance in front of an audience estimated at more than 110 million viewers in the US into additional sales and streaming activity. Joanne is sitting at 59 in the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. In the New York Post, entertainment reporter Hardeep Phull wrote that Lady Gaga has ‘just re-ignited her career’ and ‘restored herself as an A-list pop star’.
As for real touchdowns, incidentally, the Atlanta Falcons took the lead with three of them, scoring 28 points but eventually losing 34-28 to the New England Patriots after extra time. The five-hour sporting event started with the Schuyler sisters from the Hamilton cast singing America The Beautiful, followed by Luke Bryan who sang The Star Spangled Banner. The TV coverage was also filled with commercials that generated huge buzz on social networks.
Brian Monaco, president, global chief marketing officer at Sony/ATV told Music Week two days before the event that he was still negotiating a deal with a brand for a Super Bowl ad. “I had a call last night and we settled on song which is up for approval,” said Monaco.
At $5 to 5.5 million for a 30 second spot, up from last year's $4.8 million, the price might have deterred some advertisers. “A lot of brands seem to have waited, maybe for costs to come down,” he said.
Overall, this Super Bowl proved a good year for Sony/ATV, Monaco added, with at least 10 commercials using the music publishers' repertoire, not to mention Lady Gaga who the company also represents. He noted that there were less placements compared to previous years, but more spots using celebrities. “Maybe some years it is music and some years it's celebrities,” said Monaco, adding that there were more requests for older tracks, like Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild, in a Mercedes ad. “A lots of brands stick to catalogue songs that are more recognisable for a wide audience,” he explained.
Below is a list of ads played during Super Bowl and their associated songs.
Coca Cola: America The Beautiful by Samuel A. Ward & Katherine Bates & David Brinker
Master Chef Junior: It's The Hard-Knock Life by Quvenzhané Wallis & Zoe Margaret Colletti
Ford: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone
Google: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
Michelin: Stay Alive by José Gonzalez
GoDaddy: Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
Lifewtr: Love Me Now by John Legend
Pirates Of The Caribbean (movie): Ain't No Grave by Johnny Cash
Buick: It's Alright by Matt And Kim
Logan (movie): Amazing Grace by Dropkick Murphys
T-Mobile (feat. Justin Bieber): Children by Justin Bieber
Bai (feat. Justin Timberlake & Christopher Walken): Bye Bye Bye by 'NSync
Transformers (movie): Path 5 (Delta) by Max Richter
Coca-Cola: Put It Together by Langhorne Slim & The Law
For The Handmaid's Tale (Series): Releaser by Kid Cudi
Michelob Ultra: Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy
Lexus: Move Your Body by Sia
Wendy's: Cold As Ice by Foreigner
Xfinity: Le Disco by Shiny Toy Guns
Toyota: Radar by Danger Twins
84 Lumber: The Journey Begins (Theme) by Victor Magro
National Geographic For Genius: Bad Romance by Oli Langford
NFL: You're My Inspiration by Chicago
Mr. Clean: Cleaner Of Your Dreams (Theme) by Eggplant Collective
Budweiser: Proposal by David Wingo
Kia (feat. Melissa McCarthy): Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler
Netflix for Stranger Things: Stranger Things Theme by Kyle Dixon
Evony: Keyboard Suite In D Minor by Raymond Leppard
T-Mobile: Bad Blood by NAO
Xfinity: Worship You by Vampire Weekend
Amazon Echo: My Girl by The Temptations
Nintendo Switch: Believer by Imagine Dragons
Mercedes: Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf
Alfa Romeo: Clouds, The Mind On The (Re)Wind by Ezio Bosso