Lady Gaga Launches Her Next Phase With Eye-Grabbing 'Bad Romance' Video

Francis Lawrence-directed clip is eye-catching and conceptual.

The wait is over! On Tuesday (November 10), after 24 hours spent frantically refreshing for its scheduled Monday premiere, fans were finally treated to the premiere of Gaga's much-discussed "Bad Romance" video. And needless to say, it was worth the wait.

Directed by Francis Lawrence — who's helmed clips for the likes of Britney, Justin, Gwen and Shakira, not to mention the post-apocalyptic Will Smith vehicle "I Am Legend" — and featuring countless costume changes (and one unearthly pair of Alexander McQueen heels), partial nudity, and choreography that runs the gamut from spooky to sexy, "Bad Romance" is very much an event, the kind of video you just don't see very often anymore — and that goes double for the anticipation surrounding it.

"Romance" was supposed to premiere Monday on, and (we can attest) the influx of traffic ground the site to a halt. A brief snippet of the clip — which premiered on a German TV show — became a YouTube sensation, Perez Hilton wrote about it, people Googled it like crazy ... "Bad Romance" was a hit even before it debuted, a testament to Gaga's global popularity and the power of her unique brand of art-pop.

So what's so great about this video? Well, of course there's the costuming and the choreography, the sly nods to Anubis Airlines from "True Blood" (check the coffins Gaga and Co. emerge from), but aside from that, there are the scenes where we get to see the real Gaga: stripped of her makeup (and her clothes), she sings directly to the camera, a single tear trickling down her face. It's a disarming moment, a glimpse at the woman shed of her outer layers ... a Gaga we rarely get to see.

There's also the plot of the video, which — and perhaps I'm reading too much into this — appears to be hugely symbolic. The clip opens with Gaga surrounded by the characters from her previous videos (her sunglasses, the diamond-encrusted head pieces, Lava, the Great Dane let's call it the Fame version of herself. That Gaga is quickly kidnapped, poisoned with vodka (shout out to the folks at Nemiroff!) and transformed into something new: the super-sexy, somewhat spooky Fame Monster version, which we'll see on her upcoming tour and hear on the updated version of her album, The Fame Monster, which hits stores on November 23. The message is clear: the old Gaga is over, here's the brand-new Gaga: the one who seems to delight in pushing the boundaries and exploring all manner of sexual proclivities.

While Gaga herself didn't reveal much about the video's concept when she spoke with MTV News last week, she did say that the razor-blade glasses were intended to project a "tough female spirit," and she raved about Lawrence: "I knew he could execute the video in a way that I could give him all my weirdest, most psychotic ideas, but it would come across to and be relevant to the public."

It's a testament to her brilliance as an artist that Gaga is using the "Bad Romance" video as the jump-off point for the next leg of her career. These days, it seems like pop stars all too rarely put this much thought into their vision and their products.

Wherever she goes from here, we can look back on this clip as the moment where it all changed. Perhaps that's a tad by hyperbolic, but you can't blame me for getting caught up in the moment: They don't make 'em like this anymore, and I'm not just talking about the video.