Lady Gaga hasn’t made it easy for herself: She’s got a manic drive to combine pop culture homage, conceptual fashion, gay-positive messaging, audience misdirection and general Gaga-brand weirdness that—as she sets it to music—constantly threatens to pile up into a bunch of self-serious signifiers.
But when it works, it works, as Gaga’s performance on Good Morning America proved earlier today. The homage, to The Wizard of Oz, was classic, recognizable to anyone, and preloaded with an adult subtext beneath the childlike wonder.
As musical theater with heavy-duty costumes, Oz makes perfect sense for Gaga. But as a peak-mainstream franchise (James Franco, need I remind you, just starred in Oz the Great and Powerful) it wasn’t an obvious choice. And the, shall we say, deviation we might have imagined her introducing to it she pretty much left on the table—while introducing her own motifs, like her real-time, wig-cap-revealing wardrobe changes.
The best part was Gaga clicking her heels together and repeating, “There’s no place like Good Morning America.” This obvious, wonderfully egoless little coda won her some genuine laughs, and suggests that Gaga wants to show us some love after all.