HOUSTON – Bennett? Yes. Beef? No. Beyonce? Maybe.
Those were about the only details Lady Gaga gave in her news conference on Thursday in advance of her Super Bowl LI halftime show.
Legendary performer and Gaga confidant Tony Bennett will play a role in the countdown to the show, organizers of the event said. Gaga said there will be no “meat dress” as part of her wardrobe for the 13-minute concert. And as far as a guest appearance by Houston’s own Beyonce – fueled by a cryptic bee posted on a recent Instagram photo by Gaga – the star of the show coyly suggested folks not hold their breath but did not outright deny it.
Beyond that, Gaga would not reveal any other details of the show, other than promising it will be high-energy and full of acrobatics and athletic maneuvers that will try to match the physicality of the football game.
She did, however, say that the theme of the show will reflect her personal beliefs in this time of great political divide.
“The points I’ll be making during my halftime show are the ones I’ve been consistently making throughout my career,” she said. “I believe in compassion for inclusion, I believe in the spirit of equality, and the spirit of this country as one of love and compassion and kindness. My performance will have all of those elements.”
She also said that she will draw inspiration from all of the young people in the country who feel left out at times, and that they will be on the stage with her.
“The preparation for this show is the show business version of the athletes,” she said. “We’ve been training for months and months… It’s not easy. I want all young people to understand when they see it that if you have a dream to be something, you should go for it. But you have to give everything you got.”
The news conference included appearances by Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who gave a birthday shoutout to Gaga’s grandmother back in the Pittsburgh area, and handed an autographed football to Gaga’s mother. Former Giants great Osi Umenyiora described himself as Gaga’s “biggest fan” because of his size, gave her a T-shirt, and asked for a sing-a-long. And Olympic gymnast Simone Biles offered some tips on the acrobatic parts of the show (“squeeze your body” and “remember the memories”).
This being Houston, of course there was a question about the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction the last time this city hosted the event. The Patriots were in that game, too, to which Gaga asked if people are blaming them for that incident, a veiled reference to the NFL’s investigations into the franchise for things such as SpyGate and DeflateGate.
But fear not, fragile viewers.
“Everything is going to be nice and tight for the game, so I wouldn’t worry about that,” Gaga said of any unplanned exposures. “Unfortunately. Some of you might have been excited by that.”