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  • Kaiana Lee

10 Lady Gaga Performances That Are Absolutely ICONIC

photo credits: Billboard/getty images

I’ve been a major fan of Lady Gaga since I was 8 years old. Ever since I heard Poker Face for the first time on my Maw Maws living room TV I was obsessed with her sound and her vibe. Everything she does presents me with a whirlwind of emotions. From her incredible stage designs and her experiments with fashion to the unique sounds of her music, Gaga blends the worlds of standard pop music with the weird and eccentric cultures of raves and underground dance clubs. Her artistry has always been near and dear to my heart. Though every performance she has ever done has been phenomenal, these ten are the pinnacle of who Lady Gaga is as an artist.

10. Muppets Venus Performance

This is the DEFINITION of camp. The Muppets add a certain flavor to this song that is just amazing. The Muppet band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are acting as her backup band in this performance. Watching Animal beat on drums while Lady Gaga dances around in an oversized wig with bare feet is an unforgettable experience. Gaga is so consistent with the way she presents her over-the-top and strange stage sets and costumes. However, in this performance, the Muppets are the strange stage set. Yet, somehow, they fit in perfectly with the theme. Never once do you question why the Muppets are there, they just are and it's accepted instantly. Gaga has this cool vibe about her entire performance that adds to this insane experience. It’s just intoxicating. You can see how much fun everyone is having with this whole experience.

9. Grammys 2022

This is a perfect example of not only the growth Gaga has had in her career but also the powerhouse that is her voice. She is always showing us how strong her vocal abilities are but in this performance, it's intense. Her ability to make dynamic changes from nasally tones to full ones is amazing Her voice lends itself so well to the energy of this genre. Her versatility with her performances and voice goes unmatched. Her presence on this stage is so captivating. I genuinely cried while watching her belt out these classics. The tribute to her friend Tony Bennett is such a beautiful one and it just shows how timeless and talented Lady Gaga truly is.

8. Graham Norton Judas Performance

This performance is so raunchy and cool. Judas has some of the best choreography Gaga has done. Talk show performances are rarely taken as seriously as this one. Gaga puts on an unforgettable show with both Judas and Born This Way. During her performance of Born This Way, she climbs into a vat of glue-like substance with her dancers and splashes around while maintaining those signature vocals we all know and love. Nothing quite like it has been brought to a talk show stage like this.

7. Brit Awards 2010

Here she performs a beautiful acoustic version of her hit song Telephone. She plays piano so passionately with an elaborate costume wrapping her and her stark white piano. This version of Telephone was so unexpected and truly set her apart from any other artist at this time. A truly brilliant way to show her vocal abilities so early in her career. No one knew what to expect from such a wild card performer and that was made even more clear in this performance when she made the sudden switch from piano acoustics to electronic performance. Blending classical and electronica was so strange at the time but for Gaga it came so naturally.

6. 2016 Academy Awards Til It Happens To You

WONDERFUL PERFORMANCE! Though Gaga is known for her over-the-top and dramatic performances, she replaces the theatrics for a tear-jerking tribute. At the 88th annual Academy Awards, she did something so powerful that it brought the nation to its knees. Performing her song Til It Happens To You, she brought over 50 sexual assault survivors to the stage. She wanted to dedicate her performance to survivors. To give them the recognition they deserve. She wrote this powerful ballad for the documentary hunting ground. The documentary focuses on campus sexual assaults. Gaga uses her moment to highlight the strength these survivors have. This performance was powerful and emotional.

5. La Vie En Rose (Tony Bennett 90th Birthday Celebration)

Gaga loves showing off her knowledge of the French language. In this show, she gives her all to this song. Singing as if there's not a single person in the room but her and her dear friend Tony. She is a shining beam of light dazzling everyone who has the chance to watch her perform this song. Her voice meshed so well with the gentle Jazz piano and it was unlike anything else. Her tributes to Tony Bennett are always some of her best performances. She truly loves that man and gives her all anytime she gets to express her love through song to and for him.

4. Joe Calderone VMA 2011

This is performance was a cultural rest. When everyone heard Gaga was performing for the VMAs once again we all were expecting something similar to her 2009 performance. We instead got introduced to her ex-boyfriend and alter ego Joe Calderone. This performance is amazing in the fact that it brings together Gaga's love for theater and acting with her musical performance. The monologue that comes before the actual performance showcases her talents. She speaks about herself in such a way that you almost start to forget you are listening to Gaga herself. Joe then goes to play the piano and brings a raunchy rockstar vibe to the incredibly iconic VMA stage. Joe splashing beer everywhere and smoking cigarettes while giving a monologue about how Gaga is on and off stage isn't even the end. To top off this absurd scene of rock and roll antics; the guitarist of Queen is featured in this! Brian May comes out and shreds on guitar while Joe slams on piano. This performance is etched in my brain and it's criminal that it isn’t recognized.

3. VMA 2013 Applause

Artpop is often ignored by the masses. I can't for the life of me understand why. I firmly believe this was one of her best eras. She puts her all into every visual of this album and creates a whole world her fans can live in through her art. this performance is only an aspect of this world she built. She uses every second she is allotted to cycle through her previous eras. She does this by switching rapidly through various costumes and wigs. Attributing this cycle to the love of applause she is singing for. During these quick changes, she is maintaining her amazing vocals and keeps up with her fast-paced choreography. Once she finally emerges with her final outfit she is fitted in an Aphrodite-inspired outfit. Dawning massive hair and a seashell bikini. This is the climax she was building up to. A goddess-like feeling she receives from the sound of applause. The thought that is put into this performance is absolutely incredible and extremely fun to watch.

2. Super Bowl Half Time Show

Everyone brings their A-game to the super bowl halftime show. We all know about the iconic Prince performance and the scandalous Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson performances. But people rarely talk about this one. Lady Gaga brought all types of theatrics and acrobatics to this stage. She began with a homage to the country. Standing on top of the stadium belting a beautiful rendition of God Bless America and This Land is Your Land. She then leaps off the stadium and is shown propelling down while performing some of her top hits. That's just the beginning. This stunt, combined with some of her best vocals and dance routines, lead to some of her best work overall on stage. At this point, she was pretty seasoned as a pop star. She has solidified herself as someone who goes big and stays big with her performances and she doesn’t stray away from that idea whatsoever.

1. Paparazzi VMA 2009

This was, no exaggeration, LIFE CHANGING. Lady Gaga brought to the stage something no one had ever seen before. The drama, the horror, and the story all changed the way we see, and even interact, with art today. Fame can be all-consuming and monstrous. Having her background dancers (her fans) string her up and leave her hanging was intense and the best way for her to show the fear and excitement that comes along with massive success. Gaga was only 23 when she created such a masterpiece. She left a mark on VMA history that could never be erased. She has continued to bring this level of artistry to the VMA stage every single year she has performed. This was a testament to who she is as an artist and what we, the audience, were in for while watching her grow into her fame. She was still relatively new to being a star and yet the story she told through this performance will certainly outlive her. It is rooted in history.

Do you agree with this list? What’s your favorite Gaga performance? We want to hear your thoughts! Follow us on our socials to tell us your opinion!

Written By Kaiana Lee

*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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