Write it down: When Lady Gaga wraps her performance at Super Bowl LI in Houston on Sunday, after the smoke clears and the confetti settles, Gaga will crack the Top 5 on our list of the all-time greatest Super Bowl halftime shows.Call it a hunch, call it an educated guess, but Lady Gaga just strikes us as someone who will bring her A-plus-plus game to this stage sandwiched in the middle of a game that often isn’t as interesting or exciting as the extras that accompany it on television.You might think she’s still the meat-dress-wearing weirdo who burst onto the scene in 2008 with her debut album and its chart-topping singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” but if you’ve been paying attention she’s gotten much more accessible — singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl a year ago, wowing the world with her performance at the Oscars, releasing her most straight-ahead rock (and almost country-sounding) album “Joanne” in the fall — while not losing any of her quirky artistry and independence along the way.
Will there be a guest performer or two? Tony Bennett, with whom Lady Gaga has recorded an album of standards and toured will be present in a prerecorded bit before the halftime show — possibly with Lady, as he’s known to call her — and Beyoncé could make it two years in a row as a scene-stealing guest, but we’ve got a feeling it will be mostly a solo set.Time will tell whether we’re right about how good this will be, so for now, let’s go to the list of the Top 10 halftime shows in the first 50 years of the Super Bowl, with a bit more movement in the rankings this year than in recent years given our changing views on what rocked and what did not.
25-1. Gaga’s bellybutton being visible when she comes on stage? After all, she can make any points she wants through the selection of her songs. Think someone is going to fall off the stage? That’s a 5-8 bet. “Born This Way,” which oddsmakers have as a 13-2 pick to show up in her set, is an anthem of freedom and empowerment for oft-oppressed groups such as women and members of the LGBT community, for instance.And yes, you can bet actual money on elements of the halftime show: Odds that Gaga makes an anti-Trump statement either visually or vocally are a fairly short 10-13. Someone on stage catching on fire? That’s a 12-1 bet.
In other words, she’s poised to reach everyone from her adoring Little Monsters, some of whom will no doubt be present as fans on the field while she sings, to the Bud drinkers at home who’ll pause mid-dip-of-the-chip and wonder how she won them over.The question of whether Lady Gaga will get political at the Super Bowl created a minor stir recently when one TV show reported that the NFL had banned her from saying anything controversial while in the spotlight. The NFL and Gaga’s camp both said that wasn’t so and it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing she’d force into her set even given her support of Democrat Hillary Clinton before the presidential election and her protesting of President Donald Trump after it.