Lady Gaga performs ‘You and I’ as Jo Calderone at MTV VMAs 2011 – photos, video — Slipping in and out of character can be a difficult act for a singer turned actor, especially true at a nationally broadcast awards ceremony. Lady Gaga, however, made the attempt as she accepted her “Moonman” trophy for Best Female Video award at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. All throughout the ceremony, she was dressed in the decidedly male costume of her male alter-ego character, “Jo Calderone.” The MTV Music Video Awards were held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and were broadcast live on MTV.
Walking out of a spotlight smoking a cigarette, “Jo Calderone” looked a good deal like a young Al Pacino with slicked black hair, cigarette behind one ear, and a white t-shirt and coat.
Perhaps more comfortable performing in the role, Lady Gaga actually opened the MTV VMA show Sunday night as Jo Calderone with a monologue talking about his troubled relationship with the pop star. She (Lady Gaga) told him (Jo), according to him, that he is “just like the last one.” He told the audience that she is “crazy” — “she gets out of bed, puts on the heels; she goes into the bathroom; I hear the water goin’ on. She comes out of the bathroom drippin’ wet — she’s still got the heels on.” He continued, “And what’s with the hair? At first it was sexy, but now I’m just confused.”
Jo said, “I gotta get in there,” meaning the beam of the spotlight that seems to follow Lady Gaga wherever she goes. “I want her to be real, but she says ‘No; I’m not real; I’m theater; and you and I — this is just rehearsal.'”
Then Jo walks over to a piano, sits down, and begins playing “You and I.” Soon, Jo joins male dancers on the stage dressed like him. Finally, the song takes on a rock flavor when Jo introduces Queen guitarist Brian May, who is featured on Lady Gaga’s CD, Born This Way.
“I’m so happy to accept the award tonight — ’cause Gaga’s not here — for Best Female Video,” said the performer as “Jo” in her acceptance speech later in the program. “I know if she was here tonight, she’d want me to thank her little monsters.”
“You know, earlier tonight they told me I got Best Video with a Message,” Lady Gaga said, slipping out of character. She then complimented the other artists in the room, all of whom, she said, made videos with a message.
See photos of Lady Gaga as Jo Calderone here and a video of her performance as Jo at the MTV VMAs here (the video contains bleeped language). You can also see both extras in the left-hand column of this page.