A Patriot Act

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She could have made it political. She was a patriot.

She could have played it safe. She jumped off the freaking building.

She could have lip-synced to a track. She sang live. All of it.

At a time when this country is deeply divided, Lady Gaga delivered the performance of her life at Super Bowl 51. Never one to fear controversy or the spotlight, Gaga’s intentions were clear–she was here to be herself and bring fans the spectacular exhibition they wanted to see. She went above and beyond, starting with a jaw-dropping entrance, leaping off the top of the stadium in Houston, Texas, flying to her performance platform high above the 50-yard line.

Taking another aerial leap—synchronized with the pyrotechnics around her, and drone guided lights above her, Gaga descended to her monsters below, who quickly surrounded her like bees to their queen, as billows of smoke distract the audience from the unharnessing that is happening before their eyes. 

Lady Gaga built a personal brand that elevates her to practically any sponsorship she would choose to pitch. This year she didn't choose sugar water or sports drinks. She didn't choose alcohol. She didn't choose social media. She chose Tiffany & Co.  The music superstar that breaks barriers with grand entrances that have included outrageous shoes, styles, sunglasses, meat dresses partnered with Tiffany's to produce a halftime commercial reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn sophistication (the Vince Lombardi Trophy has been designed and produced by Tiffany for every Super Bowl since 1967).

Gaga performed the Super Bowl 51 halftime show as the only headliner, the first time since The Who in 2010 and the only solo artist since Prince in 2007. She performed the 7-song, 15-minute show for free, a brilliant marketing ploy to announce her Joanne World tour, and to the delight of drag queens everywhere, a Season 9 guest judge spot on RuPaul's Drag Race.

A performer that pushes conventional and conservative boundaries with songs like "Born this Way" and "Bad Romance" paired with scant costuming performed at the largest testosterone-infused commercial sporting event in the world during one of the most politically heated times in modern history. The social climate was prime for divisiveness and soapboxing, yet there was no headline-grabbing opposition.

She literally dove onto the stage, gave one of the most memorable SuperBowl halftime shows in history, one of the most fulfilling performances of her life, and exited into history with grace and dignity.

Like a lady.

Russ White