When Lady Gaga spoke to MTV News about what her 2011 VMA performance might entail, she described it as a continuation of everything she’s ever done. Now that the world has finally seen her VMA performance of “You And I,” we now know what she meant. Lady Gaga opened the VMAs this year as Jo Calderone, her male alter ego.
We first met Jo Calderone when Lady Gaga posed for Vogue Hommes Japan in September of 2010. In the photo shoot, she sported a masculine white button down and men’s slacks. Her female-to-male transformation was really complete with the power of hair and makeup, or lack thereof — Jo Calderone sports a slicked back ’50s greaser hairdo with thick sideburns and dark, brooding eyes. He’s also usually smoking a cigarette. Many Little Monsters may have thought that Jo’s appearance in Vogue Hommes Japan was a one-time deal, but this is Lady Gaga we’re talking about, people — there’s a deeper meaning to everything that she does.
Jo Calderone didn’t show up again until we saw Lady Gaga’s single cover for “Yoü And I,” where he’s seen on the cover showing us his profile and exhaling smoke from his cigarette. When the “Yoü And I” video premiered, fans got their first true look at Gaga’s male alter ego in action, as Gaga appears as Jo during about a third of the video, seated on top of a piano while Lady Gaga plays beneath him.
Lady Gaga’s appearance at the 2011 VMAs as Jo Calderone marks the world’s fourth look at Gaga’s male alter ego, and once again, she has us all scratching our heads. Not only did Gaga carry out her VMA performance as Jo Calderone, but she didn’t break character the entire night. So we have to ask: Is Jo Calderone some kind of performance art, or is Lady Gaga actually becoming Jo Calderone? We don’t even know if Lady Gaga can answer that question.