Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl show fumbled at the moment we needed her most

Originally published 12:37 AM EDT, FEBRUARY 6, 2017

Mother Monster asked the audience to put their paws up at the Super Bowl LI halftime show, but did she deliver the showstopper everyone expected?

Debatable. The performance had its ups and downs. For me there was more of the latter. As always, Lady Gaga’s vocals were killer, but I didn’t expect anything less in that department. Few people can run across a football field and belt a song as vocally intensive as “Born This Way.” Her costumes were stunning, the sun of candles that surrounded her during “Million Reasons” was touching, and yes, she dived off the roof of the NRG Stadium but…what else?

I expected more from the Grammy-winner and was sorely disappointed. With so little happening it still felt somehow very messy. I never noticed the supposed “drones” that everyone is talking about (and I still have yet to point them out on my third rewatch.) I was personally offended that she dared tease us with “Telephone” without bringing out a now-pregnant Beyonce for her third Super Bowl halftime show appearance.

Above all, however, her show didn’t make me feel anything.

Right now we live in a world where a message of positivity, inclusivity, and love is needed more than ever. Sadly, Lady Gaga, who is usually such an avid advocate and voice for the oppressed failed to deliver such a note of hope. Her message, “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life,” is one that the pop star has been preaching for years. But should she have used this platform to maybe say a little bit more?

My mind immediately thinks back to two different but equally powerful halftime shows played out in recent years. Beyonce and Coldplay. It is considered a controversial move for celebrities to use their fame as a platform for political messages. For me, I think it a very wise one. I remember so vividly moments from Beyonce’s performance where a giant image of her lit up the night in fire. Where women of all ethnicities took to the stage to sing about being independent. Her message was clear: empowerment of feminism, social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

Meanwhile, Coldplay took advantage of bright and sunny California to display the sign “Believe in Love” across the Levi Stadium. Again, a clear message, the power of fixing a broken world with love. Same love, trans love, heterosexual love, and even platonic love. They even brought Beyonce out to once again sing about the empowerment of black women everywhere.

Maybe it was too much of me to expect Lady Gaga to use her thirteen minutes of airtime to unite the 100 million people expected to watch. Obviously there is an opposite argument to be made about her performance. Sadly for me, just as Bruno Mars and Katy Perry have fallen into the back of my mind as very forgettable halftime show performances, Lady Gaga will as well.