Call it the month of Gaga.
Singer Lady Gaga opened proceedings at Super Bowl 50 on Sunday afternoon with a stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner to kick off the match between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Wearing a glittering scarlet pantsuit and accompanied by a solo piano, Gaga delivered an uplifting and moving version of the National Anthem. Her white-blond hair swept high and back from her face, Gaga sported blue nail polish and rocked American flag-themed platform shoes. She closed her performance by saying "God bless you, America."
Prior to Gaga's rendition of the National Anthem Sunday, a combined Armed Forces choir performed "America the Beautiful" with sign language accompaniment from Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin.
It's a busy February for the 29-year-old star who is set to perform at not just the Super Bowl but also the Grammy Awards, and she will appear at the Oscars. Gaga will deliver a tribute to late rock legend David Bowie at the Grammys on Feb. 15, and then take the stage at the Academy Awards on Feb. 28 as a presenter.
Ahead of her Super Bowl performance, the "Applause" singer told NFL media analyst Nate Burlesons that singing the National Anthem at this year's game is one of the highest honors of her career and a dream she has harbored most of her life. "I’ve always wanted to sing the National Anthem at a major sporting event since I was a little girl, and for it to be the Super Bowl, it is the ultimate," she said
"I get a chance to sing for all the athletes who have been working so hard their whole lives for this moment, the coaches, as well as the fans in the stands who are waiting for this moment," Gaga ( real name Stefani Germanotta) added. "I think it really marks what being an American is all about: working hard and that being the ultimate payoff for the champion is hard work."
Of performing in the National Anthem in the wake of former singers who have appeared at the Super Bowl, including Alicia Keys, Opera diva Renee Fleming, Tony-winner Idina Menzel, Christina Aguilera, Billy Joel and Whitney Houston, Gaga said her focus would be on the significance of the song.
"I have to live up to a song that stands the test of time," she told Burlesons. "I think the best way to do that is kind of forget about yourself and just focus on what it means."
Gaga was the first A-lister to take the stage at Levi's Stadium ahead of Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay, who are set to perform the Super Bowl halftime extravaganza.