Lady Gaga Totally Slayed the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50

Gregory E. Miller
superbowl 50, lady gaga
Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

At the top of Super Bowl 50, after Lady Gaga belted our National Anthem’s final notes, chances are your Twitter timeline was filled with a chorus of, “Wow, Lady Gaga can actually sing!” If you’ve been following Lady Gaga’s career, chances are even greater that you’ve heard all the comments before.

Ever since she stormed onto radio airwaves in 2008, imploring the nation to “Just Dance,” the now 29-year-old singer has weathered a complicated relationship with the “serious” music community. Her rise to superstardom was so quick, she predicted it herself, naming her debut album The Fame.

Earworm after earworm conquered the zeitgeist—“Poker Face,” “LoveGame,” “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance,” “Telephone.” It was inevitable then, that in some circles, she’d be written off as nothing more than a vessel for what’s hot, the successor to the shallow-voiced reigning princess of pop, Britney Spears. The spectacle of balls-to-the-wall costuming, elaborate performance staging and highly stylized music videos gave detractors all the ammo they needed.

But from the very beginning, Lady Gaga has pleaded with audiences to look past the shoulder padded leotards and take her craft seriously. Time and time again, she’s whipped out stripped down musical numbers in an attempt to convince anyone who’d listening that she’s the real deal. There was the 2010 Grammy performance seated at a piano, playing “Speechless’ opposite Elton John. There was the entire year spent promoting a jazz album with Tony Bennett. There was the Sound of Music tribute that stole last year’s Oscars telecast. She was even doing it as recently as December, when she grabbed headlines for her stunning tribute to Frank Sinatra on a CBS special.

So can this spectacular rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”–one that very well may be remembered someday right up there with Whitney Houston’s iconic 1991 performance—end this conversation once and for all? It’s unlikely—the pop star seems to still feel she has something to prove.

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos

Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Lady Gaga slaying the National Anthem

Indeed, February 2016 is the month of Gaga, and we’re all just living in it. With a Golden Globe for American Horror Story checked off her to-do list, she appears to be focusing muh muh muh more on showing off her singing chops once again. Following Sunday’s big Super Bowl opening, she’s confirmed to perform a David Bowie tribute at the Grammys (Feb. 15 at 8/7c on CBS) and is widely expected to sing her powerful Oscar-nominated ballad “Til It Happens To You” at the Academy Awards (Feb. 28 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC).

It’s all leading up to an album release sometime later this year, her first solo album since the critically-reviled sales flop, Artpop. Here’s hoping that Gaga will have stopped worrying by then about her image and get back to what she’s really great at—making music.