In honor of the 2017 American Music Awards, Billboard is counting down the best performances from the awards show’s history. We continue the countdown at No. 11 with Lady Gaga.
Back in 2009, Lady Gaga released her EP The Fame Monster, reaching No.5 on the Billboard 200, featuring some of her most iconic songs. This includes “Bad Romance,” a staple in current pop that helped turn Gaga into the superstar she is today, peaking at No.2 on the Hot 100.
During that time, Gaga was all about theatrics and for the 2009 AMAs, this Lady Gaga performance was no different, playing the aforementioned hit. She performed dressed in a skeletal, flesh-toned outfit with a headpiece covered in twinkling lights, accompanied by similarly dressed backup dancers. The stage had black boxes and towers with mirrors on the side. When a few more dancers joined, the mirrors created the illusion of dancers being scattered all over the stage. Their choreography, involving the dancers and Gaga gyrating sensually on the stage, creates a captivating performance unlike anything else witnessed at previous AMAs.
If that wasn’t enough to wow the audience, as soon as the dancers left the stage at the end of “Bad Romance,” Gaga picks up the microphone stand and smashes the glass encasement of a black box at the far center of the stage, where her piano awaits.
As soon as she sits to play “Speechless,” the piano erupts in flames and two violinists emerge from the towers, playing as smoke trickled over them. Gaga smashed a bottle of vodka against the piano, singing, “Could I give it all up for you?,” bringing new intensity to the song. The stage setup is incredible, but even without that, Gaga could’ve easily left the audience with their mouths agape with her powerful voice for this ballad.
Watch the performance below.
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