No sooner had I woken up and turned on the television this morning than I heard “Born This Way” playing on ABC as part of Good Morning, America‘s broadcast. Sure enough, GMA was announcing the first performance of their summer concert series: On Friday, May 27th, Lady Gaga will perform.
Here’s the announcement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePTNMaMuABc&feature=youtube_gdata.
I hurried to the kitchen to start my coffee and mark my calendar. (Yes, I literally marked my calendar. I’ve also marked the HBO showing of the Monster Ball on May 7th.)
This gives me the opportunity to write about something I don’t want to give too much space to when I write about my own last trip to the Monster Ball, on Friday, March 25th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Gaga had a bit of a rant that night. It differed from what she had spoken about before at that point in her performance. She assured the crowd that she did not lipsynch, that she would never lipsynch, not during a live performance that we had paid good money to see and not on a television performance that we could tune into for free.
The nature of the rant was such that I wondered what kind of day she was having professionally. It’s obvious to me that Gaga doesn’t lipsynch; it’s one of the reasons I’m willing to travel expressly to attend her concerts. She does play tracks during her performances, the recordings her Little Monsters know by heart; in concert, the tracks are used when she departs for an ultra-quick costume change. I also wondered at what point she had worked that particular reassurance into her performance. Was it fresh for the day? (If it was, I know from another article that she said something similar during her concert the night of her birthday, March 28th.)
The next morning, I woke in Las Vegas and noted in the newspaper that Britney Spears was also appearing in concert that weekend. I made the loosest connection and quickly dismissed it. Britney is big in her own right, I know, but I don’t put her at all in the same league as Gaga. Britney has had enormous hits, and many people love her music; I’ve even enjoyed working out to “Toxic” and some others from time to time, though I own nothing by her and probably never will. I find her singing voice annoying, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of knobs are twisted during production to get her to sing on key. Every time I’ve seen a “live” performance of hers, she’s lipsynched. Poorly. The whole song. She doesn’t even have the grace and good sense to sing part of her songs live, to confuse the audience.
And yes, I make these assertions having only the most limited of perspectives. I haven’t followed Britney Spears’ career closely, save for the period of head-shaving and meltdown, which (by the way) I wouldn’t have followed had it not been so very inescapable. I’m saying maybe she’s sung live sometimes. Just, I’ve never seen it.
Anyway, the last time GMA made such a big fuss about a singer’s appearance on their show was Britney Spears’ March 29th performance. Performance? Can it be called that? I ritually watch Good Morning, America as I’m preparing for work and sipping my coffee. I’m not sure of the particulars of her performance. I believe her new CD was released that day. I know it took place in San Francisco, and given that she’d have had to go live at approximately 4:00 or so in the a.m. there to air in GMA’s New York time frame, I wondered whether her show was “live” in the real-time sense of the word. She had an audience of devotees. She had a stage set. She performed several songs.
Sort of. She sort of performed several songs.
I mean, Britney stood there and shifted her hips in a couple of sexual grinds, and she moved her feet and arms in sluggishly dance-like ways. And yes, she did way better than I could ever dream of doing even at my very best safe within the privacy of a crowded dance floor — I’m no fool — I know that. But she was sluggish. No matter what time it was when her performance was recorded, there’s no excuse for such a half-hearted showing.
Especially when she wasn’t even singing! She was lipsynching. Britney didn’t sing one note. Even though I knew of her evil lipsynching ways, for some reason I expected something different from her. What a disappointment.
I made the connection again. Lady Gaga, the hugest superstar in the world right now, does not lipsynch. She sings her heart out. She dances as passionately. She performs. I can’t imagine her rant as really being connected to Britney Spears, but the temporal proximity of my attending Gaga’s Monster Ball and then catching Britney on GMA has led me to the connection.
After GMA ended, I pulled up YouTube videos of Lady Gaga’s performance last fall on The Today Show and enjoyed them yet again, happy to see a superstar (a superstar still on the rise, by the way) who understands her responsibilities in that role.
Now, if I can, I will supply the evidence.
Here, Britney appears on stage and moves around some while “Would You Hold It Against Me?” plays. She doesn’t even have the good sense to sing the verse containing the distinctively sung word “hazy” live. Good luck enjoying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkAI6MHtJCc. If you want to see more of the same, check out the rest of the videos for yourself.
Lady Gaga certainly profits by comparison. Yet I feel I do her a dishonor by making the comparison. Thus, apologies are in order. Sorry, Gaga; sorry, Little Monsters. Nevertheless, here are videos of her LIVE performance on The Today Show last September, and I do feel confident in giving the imperative to ENJOY:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-2jznyL5eE&feature=related (“Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro”)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muXg2qPFcKY&feature=related (“You and I” — in which she shows she can do more than sing and dance live; she can also play the piano, and oh, did I mention she writes her own songs too?)
And look for something as dazzling, memorable, and unquestionably LIVE on Good Morning, America, airing Friday, May 27, 2011.