Lady Gaga, who wowed all of America with her fiery rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl 50, easily bested that iconic 2016 performance at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration ceremony Wednesday morning, delivering one of the most exuberant renditions of the national anthem in pop music history. After her big, triumphant finish, she lingered at the podium, positively beaming, seemingly letting the significance of the moment sink in.
Standing on D.C.’s Capitol steps in a billowing scarlet ballgown skirt and navy turtleneck embellished with a giant golden brooch shaped like an olive-branch-offering dove, Gaga was radiant and regal as she sang accompanied by the United States Marine Band. “Singing our National Anthem for the American People is my honor. I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46. For me, this has great meaning,” she tweeted prior to her historic performance. “My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land.”
Gaga has longtime ties to Biden. The same landmark year that she sang the anthem at the Super Bowl, Biden introduced her powerful performance of “‘Til It Happens to You,” her nominated theme from the campus sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground, at the Academy Awards; a year later, they teamed up for a PSA for It’s On Us, a sexual assault awareness campaign founded by Biden and then-president Barack Obama.
More recently, Gaga sang a selection of her hits at Biden’s final presidential campaign rally in Pittsburgh on Nov. 2, sweetly changing the lyrics of “You and I” to “There’s something about, Joe, you and I.” At that event, she also stated, “This is a big one, Pennsylvania. So if you’re here, you probably already believe in Joe Biden. I know I believe in Joe Biden. You probably already believe he’s the right choice over Donald Trump. You don’t need me to tell you why. Because, like me, you’ve experienced the last four years and have all the evidence you need to look at this choice and know in your heart, without any doubt, that Joe Biden is the right choice.”
Other musical acts at the 46th president’s inauguration ceremony were Gaga’s fellow diva Jennifer Lopez, who crooned a “This Land Is Your Land”/“America the Beautiful” medley in a symbolic white suffragette pantsuit, and Garth Brooks, who performed a solemn “Amazing Grace,” asking both attendees and viewers at home to sing along in unity.
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