[artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] will be battling a ubiquitous, game-changing pop upstart in the MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year category: herself.
Gaga goes on a post-jailhouse murder spree with fellow pop superstar Beyoncé in the [article id="1625927"]Video of the Year-nominated "Telephone,"[/article] but the visual trickery, bizarro couture and steely Russian mob guys of "Bad Romance" give "Telephone" some super stiff competition.
For starters, "Romance" almost broke the Internet when droves of fans shut down the singer's website in November for a chance to see the highly anticipated clip. The "Romance" mania is not all that surprising given the buzz the track racked up in the weeks leading to the video's release. The track likely garnered approval from [article id="1623270"]Gaga's fashion-forward followers[/article] when the pulsating hit closed the spring 2010 show of late high-fashion demigod Alexander McQueen. And the rest of the country's curiosity had probably piqued days before when Gaga performed a snippet of the track on [article id="1622985"]"Saturday Night Live" after a faux catfight with Madonna[/article].
When the visual finally surfaced, replete with all types of eye-popping imagery, it was well worth the wait. The Francis Lawrence-directed clip takes place in a stark, all-white Bath Haus of Gaga. Her eyes are bugged-out and her waist digitally nipped to cartoonish proportions, she busts out semi-nude dance sequences with strategically placed strips of lace covering her lady bits, rocks some deliriously decadent beaded headpieces and teeters on some insanely high McQueen heels before wrapping up the affair in a torched bed with sparks flitting from her bra. Buried in the smorgasbord of high-fashion and high-octane moves is an equally eyebrow-raising narrative.
"There's this one shot in the video where I get kidnapped by supermodels," [article id="1625848"]Gaga told MTV News[/article]last fall. "I'm washing away my sins and they shove vodka down my throat to drug me up before they sell me off to the Russian mafia."
Gaga explained that the video was inspired by the no-nonsense sensibilities of her New York City homegirls and paid tribute to her pals in the form of shades fashioned from razor blades.
"I wanted to design a pair for some of the toughest chicks and some of my girlfriends — don't do this at home! — they used to keep razor blades in the side of their mouths," Gaga said. "That tough female sprit is something that I want to project. It's meant to be, 'This is my shield, this is my weapon, this is my inner sense of fame, this is my monster.' "
Fans gobbled it up. Kerrianne De'Alessandro [article id="1625978"]told MTV News[/article], "I loved her outfits again — her hair and her nails were so cool. They had, like, lace on them."
Linh Dedalto added: "I love how her costumes are all crazy, but that's just how she is."
The video went on to rack up more than [article id="1643829"]200 million views on YouTube[/article], and even [article id="1627523"]legends like Smokey Robinson[/article], whose soulful catalog is decidedly more toned-down than Gaga's arena-ready repertoire, shelled out props.
"I think that Lady Gaga is so different and she has taken the world by storm," Robinson told MTV News. "I enjoy her music. So I think that she's unique. Unique always has a chance."
Do you think Gaga's "Bad Romance" will win Video of the Year? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.