NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - The Super Bowl stage will once again belong to a pop diva.
After recent headlining performances by Madonna, Beyonce and Katy Perry, the halftime show will be anchored next year by Lady Gaga, the NFL announced ahead of a Thursday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb 5 at the NRG Stadium in Houston.
The show - with a typical audience north of 100 million viewers - will come on the heels of Lady Gaga's return to the pop arena.
This month, she released Perfect Illusion, the lead single from her fourth solo album, Joanne, due to be released on Oct 21.
Since her previous LP, Artpop, in 2013, she has flexed other muscles, releasing a jazzy duets album with Tony Bennett and winning a Golden Globe as an actress on American Horror Story: Hotel.
At the last Super Bowl in February, she sang the national anthem, a role that minimised the opportunity for the kind of elaborate, theatrical spectacle for which she is known - and that the halftime show requires.
Coldplay, that night's headlining act, was joined by Bruno Mars, who led the show in 2014, and a show-stealing Beyonce, who starred in 2013.
Early speculation this year had pointed to Adele, although she was quick to shut down any rumours.
"I mean, come on, that show is not about music," the singer said at a concert in August. "They were very kind - they did ask me - but I did say no. I'm sorry."
In response, the NFL denied that it had "extended a formal offer to Adele or anyone else."