WASHINGTON • It was a jaw-dropping start to the Super Bowl halftime show: There was Lady Gaga, crooning God Bless America and Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land on the roof of Houston's NRG Stadium, framed by a fleet of illuminated drones swirling in the sky behind her. Then she stepped to the edge of the roof, flung her arms open and leapt into the open air above the field.
The Internet promptly went bonkers: Twitter was flooded with all-caps expletives and awe. Headlines gushed over the stunt. She had literally just jumped off the roof, said basically everybody.
Except she did not - at least, not live at the Super Bowl (as some quickly pointed out, it seemed a bit suspicious that the camera cut away abruptly as soon as she fell out of view).
The introduction to the performance was actually taped several days in advance, officials with Intel Drones confirmed to The Washington Post. The creative teams behind the dazzling display wanted to avoid any potential weather problems - not to mention that having a pop star plummet safely from the roof to the field poses some significant challenges.
"From a logistics and creative perspective, it's a bit hard for her to go from the roof all the way down to the floor of the stadium," Intel Drones general manager Natalie Cheung told USA Today.
For those sitting in the stadium, the first moments of Gaga's performance were played on massive screens. When the taped Gaga jumped from the roof, the real-life Gaga suddenly appeared in a spotlight, suspended below the ceiling rafters, dancing and flipping as she descended towards a glittering tower.
Her inclusive, upbeat and largely apolitical performance drew 117.5 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched half-time show, behind Katy Perry's performance two years ago.
Hot on the heels of her show, Gaga announced a major world tour on Twitter on Sunday night. The tour takes its name from her most recent album, Joanne, released last October.
The tour will begin in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Aug 1 and will include stops in New York, Berlin and other cities across Europe and the Western Hemisphere before wrapping up in Salt Lake City, Utah, in December. She will stop in Rio de Janeiro on Sept 15 for the opening night of the Rock in Rio festival.
For days before the Super Bowl, her fans were thrilled by rumours that the pop icon would perform on the stadium roof. On a Boston radio show last week, she sidestepped details about her upcoming show, but confirmed that her younger sister had suggested the daring stunt.
"This performance is for everyone," Gaga also said several days before the show, according to People.
"I want to, more than anything, create a moment that people will never forget."
WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE