It's fitting that Lady Gaga will make her triumphant return to the stage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards ... after all, since she burst on the scene five years ago, the show has served as her own personal catwalk, throne room, theater, soap box, studio, gallery, performance art space and launching pad.
Now, it will play host to her rebirth.
It's not a stretch to say that, outside of any artist not named Madonna or Britney or Beyonce (cue the angry comments!) there is no artist as synonymous with the VMAs as Gaga. Beginning in 2009— when she first creeped out Eminem while accepting her Best New Artist Moonman, then thoroughly terrified all of America with her bloody performance of "Paparazzi" — and running all the way through her gender-bending turn as Jo Calderone in 2011, the Mother Monster has continually found new ways to shock and amaze. She has routinely stolen the show, dominated blog discussions the following day, and managed to outshine a room full of the biggest stars on the planet.
In short, she is one of the few who seem to realize the stage and scope of the VMA stage, but rather than shrink from the spotlight, she seizes it, occasionally shines it directly into our eyes, and always leaves us dazzled. She's delivered epic performances, touching personal moments, and even album launches. She's won a staggering 13 Moonmen in just four years. How great has her impact been on this show? I've already written more than 250 words about her, and I haven't even mentioned the Meat Dress yet.
Oh, about that dress. She wore it — and several other outfits — at the 2010 show, a night that began with her walking the carpet with members of the U.S. Armed Services that had been discharged because they were openly gay and ended with her winning Video of the Year, announcing the title of Born This Way and meeting Cher. Most artists don't pack that much action into one year. Gaga did it in roughly four hours.
Or consider the first nine minutes of the 2011 show, in which Gaga — in full Jo Calderone garb — broke all sorts of California codes by smoking inside, delivered a rambling monologue, launched into "You and I," drank a beer, performed an elaborately choreographed routine, weirded out Justin Bieber and jammed with legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. Oh, and then she hit on Britney Spears during a tribute speech and won the Moonman for Best Female Video ... which she accepted as a man. Naturally.
And on August 25, she'll return to the VMAs, performing the debut single off ARTPOP for the first time. It's perfect, really — after all, she's given our show more than its fair share of firsts over the years. But you get the feeling this one may be bigger than any of the others ... it's her comeback, her moment, her first salvo. Given her history with the show, there's no better place for her to not only launch the next phase of her career, but serve notice that she hasn't lost a step.
Is there any doubt she'll deliver the goods? Have you been paying attention? Gaga has always treated the VMAs like the biggest show in the world, and given everything she's got riding on this performance, well, let's just say August 25 can't come soon enough. It's time to make new memories.
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards air live on Sunday, August 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn