clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grammys 2016: Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute was too busy to do him justice

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The nicest thing I can say about Lady Gaga's Grammys tribute to David Bowie is that I fully believe Gaga believes it was a tribute. She sang David Bowie songs. She dressed in David Bowie costumes. She sounded really good.

But still, the tribute felt a little messy and chaotic.

The main problem was that Gaga attempted to squeeze in too many songs. She started off beautifully with "Space Oddity," but as she segued from hit to hit — like when she began to sing "Rebel Rebel," for example — the changes in tone and her performance became distracting. She was running across the stage, vamping all over the place (she basically looked like an Elvis impostor while singing "Fashion"), and her kinetic energy made the performance feel more like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Monster Mash than a tribute to Bowie. Picture a drag version of a Bowie performance, as opposed to an actual Bowie performance.

That's not to say there weren't pockets of greatness, like certain riffs in Gaga's rendition of "Heroes," or her energy in "Rebel Rebel." But compressing all of Bowie's hits into one performance didn't allow Gaga to really do them justice, nor did it allow us to appreciate them.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.