Lady Gaga

The pop queen readies her weird wardrobe for a two-night stand.

<p>Photograph: Lizz Kuehl</p>

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Photograph: Josh Olins

Contentious as Lady Gaga's new single, "Born This Way," purports to be with its same-breath references to God and gayness—"I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes," she sings, "Don't be a drag, just be a queen"—it's really just a modern take on Madonna's "Like a Prayer." And as with that awesome old pop song, audiences are already protesting the offensiveness of "Born This Way" with glee—in this case, on the grounds of its supposedly racist references ("Whether you're black, white, beige, chola descent, you're Lebanese, you're orient").

So far, so predictable. But while Gaga may not be quite as innovative or avant-garde as she'd like us to think, she's still one of very few true pop stars with the balls to pull off a razzle-dazzle stadium show. It's tempting to imagine Madonna looking at the pics on Gaga's website and fuming, Damn, why didn't I think of a fire-shooting basque? And for these things, at least, we are truly thankful.

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