For her performance at this year's Z100 Jingle Ball, the ever-changing Lady Gaga revealed a new persona -- Laid-back Gaga.
Instead of her usual intense focus on creating a spectacle, she seemed like she just wanted to have some fun singing her songs. Maybe it was because the night held special meaning for her since the radio station's annual holiday show was the first concert a young Gaga ever attended. That night, at the age of 11, she told her mother that she would be part of the extravaganza someday.
Fourteen years later, she was headlining.
"We are just as excited to be here tonight as you are," she told the capacity crowd.
She seemed almost giddy as she delivered most of "The Edge of Glory" between some Christmas trees, before stepping out to do her Mama Monster dance in "Bad Romance." There was no controversy -- though "White Christmas" did get a bit raunchy at the end -- and no provocation, just joy.
Gaga's sweet rocker "You and I" became an ode to Manhattan, matched nicely by the piano-only introduction to "Born This Way." Before things got too sentimental, she exited with a massive version of her current single "Marry the Night" dressed in a hospital gown.
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The grace of her 50-minute set was a sharp contrast to much of the rest of the four-hour, tightly wound Jingle Ball, featuring Pitbull, David Guetta, LMFAO and Demi Lovato among others. (An edited version of the concert will air Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. on the cable channel Fuse.)
Only Kelly Clarkson seemed to match Gaga's ease on stage, even unexpectedly delivering a gorgeous version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with Lovato instead of cramming in another hit. "It is Jingle Ball after all," Clarkson explained.