Lady Gaga – Entertainer Of The Year

Just this past week, Lady Gaga was named ‘2011 Entertainer of the Year.’ 135 members of the Associated Press voted it on. They cast their ballots on a singer that no one had heard of four years ago. Since that time, Gaga has been receiving the highest accolades from every entertainment and news outlet all over North America and the world. Not bad for a 25 year-old who was being bullied as recent as eight years ago while attending high school in New York City. Lady Gaga actually garnered three votes more than the late Steve Jobs. Many others received numerous votes, including Taylor Swift, Charlie Sheen, Adele and the cast of "Harry Potter." Previous winners of the AP Entertainer of the Year include Betty White, Swift, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. It’s my opinion that these types of lists are all subjective, anyway. I think for it to be truly fair, they (the AP) should have at least separated the people in contention into categories.

In true Gaga fashion, the Lady responded by saying, "I am humbled and honored to be named 'Entertainer of The Year' by The Associated Press," Lady Gaga said in a statement Monday signed "Mother Monster." She then continued to thank everyone involved for her success of the recent past by saying "My deepest gratitude to the broadcasters and journalists who've supported me over the years, and in turn, are now supporting the loves of my life: my fans. Thank you for believing in 'Born This Way.' May you continue to brave the dreams of Showbiz.”

Recently, a friend had asked me if I was "turned off" by the way Lady Gaga's latest albums, "Born This Way," “Born This Way – The Remix” and her holiday EP “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” were being promoted and sold. He felt the record company, Interscope Records, was resorting to cheap tactics in order to increase sales to record numbers within the first week of sales. He was referring to the fact that was selling her first studio album of 2011, “Born This Way,” on a one-day-basis for just 99 cents last spring. It turned into a two-day-stint after the website crashed because of the high demand for the collection at bargain basement prices.

Getting back to his question: My answer to whether I was turned off is simply no – I'm not at all turned off. As a matter of fact, I think it's a brilliant marketing move with a page torn directly out of the book of Madonna. The fact is that Lady Gaga has been on everything from The Billboard Music Awards to The View to The Late Show With David Letterman to American Idol to her live blockbuster in-concert performance on Good Morning America last spring, a sit-down with Katie Couric on her latest holiday TV special, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving (which she also directed), all the while paying tribute to those that came before her, and to the future, the children. This woman has singlehandedly become the most important and intriguing entertainer on the planet since Madonna hit the airwaves nearly 30 years ago. Not one single performer has burst onto the scene as fast and furious as an iconic pop icon since Madonna. Many have tried, but Lady Gaga has succeeded where all others have failed, and this latest year has been pure genius.

How many other pop stars have gone from unknown to the biggest pop icon in the world by sheer talent and magnificent marketing since Madonna?! Answer: Not one. At least not like this. Sure, Britney's had a good run, as Katy Perry has, but they don't hold a candle to what this woman has done and will do. She'll be around reinventing herself when Britney and Katy are being played on Oldies Radio. Hopefully (but unlikely) this column of mine will be revisited in 20 years, because I am willing to stake my reputation on this prediction. Go Gaga! Obviously, I am hooked, as is the rest of the world.
Last spring “Born This Way” was #1 in 22 countries on its first day of release. Not bad for a girl from the Upper West Side of NYC who was playing piano bars just four years ago, under her birth-name, Stephanie Germanotta. Every so often a music artist comes along that will go down in pop culture history: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, the aforementioned Madonna and now Lady Gaga. I love her music, I love what she is doing for her Little Monsters (fans) around the world, and I love her anti-bullying campaign and her incredible support for the LGBT community. I support her efforts wholeheartedly.
She may have been laughed at for the first 20 years of her life, but as the “It Gets Better” campaign strongly implies, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Lately, Lady Gaga has been taking on standards with the great Tony Bennett and singing many solos of songs from yesteryear. I think the perfect choice for her next selection from the Great American Songbook would be the Frank Sinatra staple, “They All Laughed.” After all, it ended with the lyric, "Who's got the last laugh now..." 

© 2011 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.