We could give you a million reasons why Lady Gaga is a great entertainer.
But more pressingly, there are the reasons as to why she was the exact perfect choice to headline yesterday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show.
Simply, no one else at her stage of the game (i.e. big enough to even be considered for the Super Bowl) means what Lady Gaga means to her fans and to the whole idea of approaching music and performing as more than the some of its parts.
As Sunday approached and, bit by bit, certain details of Gaga's game plan were revealed, the pressing question remained as to whether she was going to use the opportunity to make an overtly political statement, despite reports (that were denied) that the NFL had politely asked her to not go there.
"The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together," an NFL spokesperson told TMZ last week. "Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren't going to be distracted by this."
Yet the world was still waiting to see what Gaga would do.
But as it turned out, from the second the lights at NRG Stadium went down and all eyes turned to Gaga perched on the roof, opening her performance with the acoustic strains of "God Bless America" and then "This Land Is Your Land," the symbolic lyrics booming out of her like a warm hug, no one need have thought for a second that Mother Monster was going to let this moment go to waste.
And the wise souls who signed her up for the Super Bowl couldn't have expected any differently.
That being said, the country was in a different place in September, when Gaga announced the news, than it is now.
No matter how all-consuming Super Bowl LI was for the 111.3 million people watching, how joyous it was for ecstatic Patriots fans and devastating for those rooting for the Falcons, everyone was still only a glance at a Twitter feed away from all the other issues roiling the world right now.
At this point, everyone's just exhausted—tired of arguing in circles, tired of being angry or defensive, tired of everything turning into a fight.
Enter Lady Gaga, whose very presence sends a message.
The Grammy winner has built a career on being a port in the storm for one and all. She's dedicated herself to speaking for those without a voice, comforting the bullied and outcast and communicating the importance of being one's self.
She's basically the Statue of Liberty of pop music.
For starters, "This Land Is Your Land" was in its day Woody Guthrie's critical response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," which has been a patriotic classic since the 1930s. The folk singer, who penned the song in the late 1940s after World War II, was questioning just how equal all people were in the United States, whether God was blessing all of America—whether, indeed, this land really was made for you and me.
So Gaga started off by embracing both sentiments—may our country be unified, strong and peaceful, as well as a place that people from all backgrounds can enjoy equally.
She concluded the opening segment with the end of the Pledge of Allegiance: "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." (Her lilt on "for all": See how obvious and simple that should be? she seemed to be asking.)
Then Gaga did her first leap into space of the night, the wires depositing her on a platform where she sang "Poker Face," the shout-out to Texas Hold 'Em being a definite crowd-pleaser in Houston.
(Also, can we just pause for a moment to acknowledge how phenomenal she looked and how amazing she sounded? Pure regular aesthetics and acoustics—fantastic.)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Meanwhile, she could have not sang "Born This Way," her live and let live anthem of inclusiveness, celebration of diversity and rollicking dance tune all rolled into one.
But of course she did, and that song—which also happens to have been her last No. 1 single, so it made perfect sense from a business point of view anyway—in and of itself says it all.
"No matter gay, straight, or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life / I'm on the right track baby / I was born to survive/ No matter black, white or beige / Chola or Orient made/ I'm on the right track baby / I was born to be brave."
Gaga's backup dancers are a diverse crew, representing a variety of races, ethnicities and persuasions, and they coalesced with Gaga into a unified whole, a force to be reckoned with.
The rest of the performance included "Telephone," "Just Dance," "A Million Reasons" and "Bad Romance"—all of which, particularly that last one, subvert in their own ways as only Gaga can.
Yet despite the epic, meme-ready way that Gaga exited the stage, by catching a ball and just pencil-diving to somewhere down below, no bows necessary—there was the teensiest flicker of disappointment when it was all over.
Not least of which was merely due to her performance being over; since the game was pretty one-sided up till then, who wouldn't have been down for more Gaga?
But throughout her performance, we couldn't help but be waiting for something to happen—and we're not sure what, exactly.
No "special guests" had been promised or even hinted at. Gaga had definitely said all that she needed to say with her song choices, from start to finish. The spectacle was something to behold. Perhaps it was all the anticipation—when there's that much lead-up, it's hard not to be left somewhat wanting when all is said and done.
But it didn't take long before we realized how perfect her performance was—both in entertainment value and timeliness.
First of all, Lady Gaga is the first solo artist since Prince in 2007 to carry the whole halftime show herself, and the last band to fly "solo" was The Who in 2010. Even Beyoncé was joined by the rest of Destiny's Child that year in New Orleans when the lights went out.
And while we're used to people coming out of the rafters for a more-the-merrier celebration, we didn't miss having anyone else on stage with Gaga.
Ultimately, like the Super Bowl itself, on its most idealistic level, the halftime show is supposed to be a party for one and all, and that's exactly the sort of artist Lady Gaga is and always has been. Her values system, when you get down to brass tacks, has always been worth emulating when it comes to how to treat other people.
And no one could have been a better walking, breathing reminder of the way we'd all like to be at our best—strong, empowered, kind, accepting and having the best time ever.