Review of the Superbowl Performances

By Myleah Lofland

On one of TV’s biggest nights for sports, performers also get their chance to shine in before and during the Super Bowl. This year’s performers were solid, but not explosive.

Luke Bryan’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner was a bit slow and drawn out. The beginning seemed to drag on more than needed, but he held it together with solid vocals and his country twang.

Phillipa Soo, Reneé Elise Goldsberry, and Jasmine Cephas Jones from the Hamilton cast sang a stunning rendition of America the Beautiful. The harmonies were on point, sending chills down my spine as their voices complemented each other perfectly. The trio is used to singing together, playing the “Schuyler Sisters” in the hit musical, “Hamilton.” Their performance was reminiscent of the song “Schuyler Sisters,” with the girls singing and echoing each other back and forth in a game of vocal tag. Their runs were spot on, never dragging on for too long or being too embellished. They sang, “And crown thy good,” with Soo chiming in, “With Brotherhood” and Jones and Goldsberry adding, “And sisterhood,” much to the crowd’s approval. Overall, it was a stunning and memorable performance.

Moving on to the halftime show, the main event. Many people were expecting a political statement of some kind from Lady Gaga, however, if they were expecting it, they surely didn’t get it. What Lady Gaga did was do exactly what she’s known for.

Being Lady Gaga.

The show opens with a rendition of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land.” She stands atop the stadium, with drones lighting up the sky behind her in red, white, and blue. The use of drones was interesting, though I think they could’ve done more with them. She then leaped down below, taking the plunge into the stadium. Gaga’s use of the harness could have been more graceful, the awkward handling of it causing a bit of disconnect in the flow of the performance. This caused many people to circulate this photo of Spongebob Squarepants on social media:

Lady Gaga’s vocals were stunning as usual, as she opened with “Edge of Glory,” one of her top smash hits.She commanded the stage in this moment, getting off to a strong start. Gaga’s choice of music was filled with her hits, reminding us of just how many successful songs she’s had in the past decade. She then continued into “Poker Face,” throwing us back into the age of her record breaking debut album, “The Fame.”

The show was not short of fireworks. She then went into “Born This Way.” Her dancing was on point during this song. It was tight, and her dancers were in sync, going without any mishaps. It was nice to see so many faces of color among her dancers. Lady Gaga is known for being inclusive and respectful of Black lives, tweeting in July in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“I pray for the black community who suffer fear of prejudice, violence & injustice. We need lawfulness, fairness, unity. #BlackLivesMatters”

However despite her support, Gaga’s performance was surprisingly apolitical compared to what many expected. She had the opportunity to use her platform to give her opinion on the current issues, however, she used entertainment as a distraction from politics, rather than making a direct political statement.

She then threw it back to her and Beyonce’s hit, “Telephone,” though many were disappointed that the rumors of the expecting mother of twins would be performing were false. She then continued into “Just Dance,” acquiring a gold jacket and a keytar. The lineup of songs was a bit of a nostalgic trip, since she only performed one song from Joanne, which was “A Million Reasons.” It was a heartfelt performance as she interacted with her fans. She held onto one of her fans, singing to her, “I want you to stay…” The moment was tender, and Lady Gaga is known to care about her fan base called her “Little Monsters” very much. Her vocals and musicality really shine in ballads.

“Bad Romance” was good, but not groundbreaking. Her outfit change was interesting, with her sporting a bedazzled football look. The dance was very Lady Gaga, but I feel like there could’ve been more push to be more creative in terms of performance elements. The involvement was cool with the flashing lights, much like idol concerts in Japan. She dropped the mic at the end, jumping from the platform and catching a football to close out the show.

Overall, I’d say the performance was solid. It wasn’t explosive or incredibly memorable, but it was a mashup of some of Gaga’s biggest hits. There was the lack of guest stars which really detracted from the variety that we got from last year’s halftime show. I do give Lady Gaga props for filling the entire 13 minutes with entertainment, good music, and sharp choreography. It was standard Gaga, but nothing over the top. I would’ve liked to see her push the boundary more, but at least they played it safe and she gave a good solid performance.

She had the chance to be political and use the performance to make a political statement, but instead kept it fairly neutral and told her fans, “We’re here to make you feel good.” And with the vibes in the crowd, it was clear that many enjoyed the performance.