I find it really hard to watch awards shows all the way through. Those fuckers are long, full of shit I don’t care about, and while the performances are usually good, they’re generally not anything worth sitting through hours of commercials for. Lucky for me, Lady Gaga opened the VMAs this year, so I didn’t have to wait long.
Lady Gaga swaggered out, puffing an impossibly smoky cigarette, dragging as her alter ego Jo Calderone. I’d heard of him, googled him once because I was confused by the concept, but was completely unprepared for the power that is Jo Calderone on stage. Let me say, Gaga nailed it. The act, the swearing, the greaser hair, the cig, the burns – Gaga got her drag completely right.
I couldn’t quite place the character – it was somewhere between a Jet from West Side Story and young Michael Jackson. I think Betty White got it right though:
Calderone’s monologue was all about Gaga, and how she was always acting, never real for him. She’s afraid. She’s theater. He can’t own her, because he doesn’t even know who “she” is. She doesn’t know who she is. They’re just rehearsal. I have to say, I was rooted to the screen throughout this entire thing. Gaga had the walk down. She had the mannerisms, the talk, spot on. I’ve never been a huge fan of drag kings – I usually find them less entertaining and a lot more political than their queen counterparts. Gaga erased that. This was gold.
You and I is a great song. It’s a real departure from Lady Gaga’s recent stuff – Born this Way, Judas, etc – it’s more melodic, and seems to showcase her vocals more than anything else. Calderone’s simple black pants/white t shirt complemented the song well. The dancing was likewise uncomplicated. Gaga tore it up on the piano while Brian May rocked out on the guitar. Gaga’s voice may not be the best, her songs are a bit hit or miss, but I think she might be one of the best performers out there. That’s what she is – more than a musician, more than a recording artist, she’s an all start performer. Listening to her on the radio is completely different than seeing her perform – the show is what takes it to the next level.
And in this case, it was a freaking awesome drag show.
Btdubs, don’t even try to tell me that cig wasn’t sexy. I’ve never wanted to jump anyone’s bones so badly.