Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga: Her 29 Best Performances, Pt. One (The Hits)

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Lady Gaga, potential heiress to the Queen of Pop crown, turns 29 tomorrow (Mar. 28), and to celebrate, we’ve selected 29 of her best live performances.

We’re splitting our list up into two posts, the second of which will publish tomorrow, on her actual birthday. Today, we bring you 15 of her biggest, most beloved, some-would-say-iconic performances. Here, you’ll find your favorite “Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” and “Applause” performances. You likely remember most of these, because they are, after all, quite memorable.

Tomorrow, we’ll share 14 of her best underrated, quieter, otherwise below-the-radar performances, because it really is time we revisited things like “Future Love,” “Fooled Me Again, Honest Eyes,” and those insane, eight-minute acoustic performances of “Poker Face” from back in the day.

Without further ado, let’s get things r-r-r-rolling! Here, in no particular order, are 15 of Gaga’s biggest, bestest, most jaw-dropping performances of her signature hits.


Her performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2009 VMAs is arguably her most iconic, and it still, after all these years, feels so fresh and thrilling to watch:

Gaga’s recent performance of a medley from The Sound of Music at the 2015 Oscars brought her widespread acclaim:

In 2013, Gaga performed “Applause” for the first time at the VMAs. Not many people would begin their song with pre-recorded “boo”s, but this is Gaga we’re talking about:

Remember the time Gaga performed “Speechless” atop a 20-foot piano for the Queen of England? Flawless:

In late 2013, Gaga performed “Do What U Want” on The Voice with Christina Aguilera, who proved a much better fit for the song than original collaborator, R. Kelly. What happened was a thing of true (campy) beauty:

Gaga The Alien performed “Bad Romance” and “Speechless” at the 2009 AMAs. Come for the flawless vocals, stay for her smashing her way through glass to her fiery piano:

At the 2010 BRIT Awards, Gaga rewrote the lyrics of “Telephone” in tribute of Alexander McQueen, who had recently committed suicide. She then performed “Dance in the Dark” before a giant statue of herself. This is truly one of her most beautiful and bizarre (in a good way) moments on the stage:

Gaga performed several songs on The Today Show in 2010, including “Alejandro,” which remains, in our opinion, one of her best singles:

This Wizard of Oz-themed performance of “Applause” on Good Morning America is Gaga at her campiest and most delightful:

Atop a giant moon, Gaga performed one of her most underrated singles, “Marry the Night,” at the 2011 EMAs:

In 2009, Gaga stopped by The Ellen Show to perform “Poker Face” with a lovely acoustic intro:

You’ll certainly remember the iconic “vessel” performance of “Born This Way” from the 2011 Grammys:

Speaking of iconic Grammys performances, let us not forget about this “Poker Face” and “Speechless”/”Your Song” mega-mashup with Sir Elton John at the 2010 ceremony:

Gaga opened the 2011 VMAs with this performance of “Yoü and Ï,” in which she dressed in drag as her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone:

This performance of “Telephone” on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross is unfortunately Beyoncé-less, but it’s still a joy to watch:

And thus endeth Part One…

Return tomorrow for the second half of our list, which will feature some amazing Gaga performance you may never have seen (or forgotten about)!