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MTV VMAs: Lady Gaga's Joe Calderone is theatrics gone wrong

August 28, 2011 |  6:33 pm

Lady Gaga as Joe Calderone with Brian May

Lady Gaga opened the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards with a Broadway-inspired bit that wasn't the surprise producers tipped, as Gaga's career is littered with theatrics. More often than not, she's skirted the line between entertainment and controversy, but her cross-dressing bit as "Joe Calderone" was as tired and worn-out as the gratuitous guitar solos that clutter "You and I."

The only line Gaga crossed with her VMA opening was the one that separated excess from eye-rolling. Her Calderone character came off as little more than an extra from "The Outsiders," or maybe she was just referencing MTV's "Jersey Shore," strutting around the stage with cigarette in hand and a tension-less monologue that was about nothing more than Gaga herself. "What's with the hair? At first it was sexy and now I'm just confused," Gaga as Calderone said to forced laughter, likely echoing many-a-viewer's thoughts.

It got worse, though, as Gaga launched into "You and I," a bloated rock ballad that began with her at the piano and ended with her tripping around the stage as Queen's Brian May poured on out-of-date, second-rate solos. But hey, it went over well with some, as Dave Grohl, who knows a little something about arena-rock posing, stood and cheered at May's appearance.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Lady Gaga, as Joe Calderone, performs with Queen's Brian May. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images