Lady Gaga dazzled the Super Bowl with a high-tech, tightly choreographed celebration of American diversity and unity as she chose the power of show business over direct provocation.
Performing at the halftime show of American football’s title match — generally the most watched US television event of the year — Lady Gaga turned the stadium in Houston into a sea of lights as she let hundreds of drones into the sky.
Before the performance, all eyes were on Lady Gaga to see whether she would use the platform to rip into President Donald Trump at a tense time in US politics.
Even with Vice President Mike Pence in attendance, Gaga — a sworn foe of Trump — kept with the game’s guidelines to steer clear of overt politics.
Instead the singer, known for her audacious outfits, delivered what by her account could be a subtle message.
She opened with “This Land is Your Land,” the anthem by leftist folk legend Woody Guthrie that has come to be seen as an alternative national anthem for the United States.
Gaga was backed up by an upbeat, ethnically diverse cast of dancers, who at one point joined in a group hug. At other points dancers performed reverse somersaults and hoisted her onto a disco-like walkway.
“How are you doing tonight, Texas? How are you doing tonight, America?” Gaga asked.
“We’re here to make you feel good,” she said. Gaga played a medley of her hits including “Born This Way,” an anthem of inclusion in which she speaks of acceptance of people regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Super Bowl performances are rarely directly provocative, although last year Beyonce startled many by playing her single “Formation.” Its video had a message against police brutality.