Lady Gaga presented a rather confusing message with male alter-ego, Jo Calderone, at the MTV VMAs last night. As part of her much anticipated opening act of MTV’s annual exhibition of all things louche, Gaga came out looking like a 1980s-era Ralph Macchio (more Outsiders than Karate Kid), smoking a cigarette and spouting filthy from the mouth.
Her message in going (and taking a) drag became more manifest over the course of the night, somehow tying in her album’s “Born This Way” concept with LGBT acceptance. But if one is transgender, like “Mr.” Calderone, doesn’t that imply that “he” was not, in fact, born this way? Hmm, if nothing else, Lady Gaga certainly made viewers think, and perhaps that was the overarching intention.
At least compared to her female competition, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry (who made one cringe every time she opened her mouth at the podium, especially when she called Kanye West “boo”), Gaga was probably the most tastefully dressed of the bunch. The MTV VMAs are increasingly becoming a catwalk for senseless and arbitrary fashion displays, and Gaga is certainly the ringleader of the trend.
Other highlights of the night included Jay-Z and Kanye West (who was surprisingly sufferable, for once, at an awards show) performing “Otis”, Beyonce announcing her pregnancy, and an Amy Winehouse-tribute performance from Bruno Mars, who unwittingly may have continued the transgendered theme of the evening.
All in all, it was a very entertaining display, if not further evidence that this generation’s musical pop stars have gone completely Gaga.