Madonna’s diva rivalry with Lady Gaga may be taken up a notch when her MDNA tour kicks off Thursday at Tel Aviv, Israel’s Ramat Gan Stadium. In new rehearsal footage, the 53-year-old legend is seen singing a mashup of her “Express Yourself” and Gaga’s “Born This Way” that concludes with a few lines from Madonna’s copycat-shaming “She’s Not Me.”
Last year, when Lady Gaga released her hit single “Born This Way,” controversy erupted over the song’s similarity to Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” (Never mind that much of the resemblance is rooted in both songs’ use of a pretty common disco chord progression.) At first, things seemed cool between the two singers. They’d always gotten along publicly, and Gaga told Jay Leno that M’s camp reached out to say all was well in the diva-verse with regard to the songs’ similarities (something later denied by Madonna’s people).
The whole thing appeared to have blown over until earlier this year, when Madonna was promoting her movie “W.E.” and her Super Bowl halftime performance during an ABC News interview. Madonna was asked what she thought of the comparisons, and in response she called Lady Gaga “reductive.”
Gaga’s been pretty quiet throughout, but it’s hard not to wonder if she’ll stay that way once word of this latest swipe makes its way to her ears. (Gaga is currently in Asia on her Born
This Way Ball tour, and she was recently forced to cancel a planned show in Indonesia after receiving threats from fundamentalist Islamic groups in the country.)
New leaked footage from rehearsals for Madonna’s own road show showcases a reportedly planned mashup of “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way,” and while the resemblance between the two songs remains as striking as ever, that’s not the real story. Just those two songs layered together could have been fun: The two stars certainly have overlapping fanbases, who no doubt would have delighted in the winking acknowledgement of M’s influence on Gaga. But Madonna complicates things by concluding the medley with a few lines from her Hard Candy track “She’s Not Me,” a song about Madonna being emulated by another woman.
The inclusion of “She’s Not Me” makes the medley seem like yet another scathing dig at Gaga. It’s unknown whether Madonna was just goofing around during rehearsals or whether she plans to include that final digging refrain throughout her tour.
Is Madonna taking things too far, or are we misreading things? Good-natured ribbing or mean-spirited digging? You tell us in the comments below!