Monday, November 28, 2011

'A Very Gaga Thanksgiving': Now Even My 87-Year-Old Dad Is A Fan

And now even my 87-year-old dad is now a Lady Gaga fan... While in Virginia for the T'giving holiday, I watched "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving" with my octogenarian parents—half grimacing in anticipation of Ga's potentially shocking antics... and yet, the show was sincere, sweet and ultimately wholly endearing.

Lady Gaga proved once more what a knockout talent she is in the intimate 90-minute ABC Nov. 24 special. Opening with Tony Bennett on "The Lady is a Tramp" immediately proved her a champion of cross-demographics. As my papa actually began paying attention, I began to ease up in my chair...

The following segment with Ga hosting an arts & crafts session with a bunch of kids from her alma mater, New York's Sacred Heart Catholic School, was probably the least captivating segment (next to cooking turkey and waffles with chef Art Smith), but again, she came across sans pretense, instead warm and inclusive—and a worthy role model.

Next up was full-length production number "Born This Way" followed by stripped-down performances of hits "You And I," "The Edge of Glory" and—the consummate highlight—a dressed-to-the-nines dramatic dance toss-up of Grammy-winning "Bad Romance"—sizzling hot, albeit still restrained and again, a damn effective showcase for Gaga's vocal wares.

My dad was further seduced by a lovely cover of “White Christmas” and most of all, a snappy, crisp jazz reading of "Orange Colored Sky," which Gaga explained she used to sing at New York's Oak Room. Another highlight: "Hair," a track from current "Born This Way," which I had always regarded as somewhat of a throwaway—until she explained its meaning as an anthem about feeling like an outsider in her teenage years.

An interview segment with Katie Couric was less effective, as the vet journalist played off the canned segment with all the sincerity of Ryan Seacrest. When she asked Gaga about her love life and Ga told her she'd prefer not to discuss it, "Couric said, "Even with me?" Eye roller.

Clips from the making of upcoming video for next single "Marry the Night" were briefly highlighted in the closing credits... and what a fine, fun single that is going to be.

I never thought it was possible to be all the more gaga for Gaga. And I sure as hell never figured my dad would be singing her praises. Her fan base is truly remarkable: from 9 to 19 to 49 to nearly 89! Ultimately, "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving," which she conceived and directed, was a ratings smash: It posted ABC's best Thanksgiving ratings since 2007, 23% higher than last year's dreadful Beyonce special, drawing a total of 5.5 million viewers.