Lady Gaga has grand entrance at Super Bowl halftime


HOUSTON -- Everyone wondered if Lady Gaga would make a political statement in the Super Bowl LI halftime show. The pop star didn't waste any time, delivering a heartfelt rendition of "God Bless America" that segued into the Woody Guthrie folk classic "This Land Is Your Land" ... from the roof of NRG Stadium.

It was both an understated and grand wag to start the proceedings. Message received, the 13-minute show veered sharply into more, let's call it Gaga-like territory.

Some takeaways from a really solid show performed in front of more than 100 million people worldwide:

» Gaga promised a "tremendously athletic show" during her news conference on Thursday, which I correctly predicted would lead to Gaga swinging from wires. It was all very impressive and went off without hitch as Gaga was lowered down to the dance floor for "Poker Face." Swinging from wires is always the go-to move when you want to make an entrance.

» Gaga had a big hit in 2008 with "Telephone." When the song began, it got people speculating if Beyonce would find her way into yet another halftime show. It wasn't to be. I think this was a nice little wink by Gaga, who was having fun playing with the audience's expectations.

» Gaga played just one song off her latest album, the pretty, slow-burn ballad "Million Reasons." This was when the 80,000 fans in attendance were instructed to hoist their iPhones up with the flashlight setting switched on. It's official: The lighter is dead, mannnnnn.

» Halftime hot take: It is such a big advantage for a halftime performer who can do their thing in a dome or outdoors after dusk. Last year's Coldplay show, played well before sundown in Santa Clara, didn't have the same feel as tonight's performance, indoors with the light turned down low. Just an observation.

» Gaga closed the set with "Bad Romance," which come on, is still her best song. She ended the show by making a catch as she dove into a big bucket -- never to be seen again. Well, we think she caught it.

Whoever did this wins the Internet.

» The setlist:

God Bless America/This Land Is Your Land
Poker Face
Born This Way
Just Dance
Million Reasons
Bad Romance