Certainly one of the most unforgettable aspects of the MTV Video Music Awards was Lady Gaga--er, Jo Calderone. We've seen her--um, him, in Gaga's You and I video that was released early in August, but where exactly did this Mr. Calderone come from? In a press conference after the VMAs, Jo Calderone himself explained his background. He is a mechanic from New Jersey with roots in Palermo, Sicily. He is not a guido, not a singer, a model, or an actor. I'm just, ah, a guy. I'm just a guy, you know. And I wanted to show my girl how much I love her, that's all. Apparently, his first appearance was in the Sept. 2010 issue of Vogue Japan, where he graced the cover.
It seems that Calderone only showed up at the VMA as an act of affection for his girl, Lady Gaga. However, where was she in all of this? It may seem to viewers that Lady Gaga was just taking a game of dress up a bit too far, but VMA Executive Producer Dave Sirulnick, explains.
We had talked to her about the creative [for the performance] a few weeks before the show. We had a call with her, and it became clear that she's going to be Jo.
She showed up as Jo, rehearsed as Jo ... if you said 'Gaga,' she wouldn't respond. After rehearsals, she comes over, she says to me, 'It's nice to meet you,' and I say to her, 'I know your friend Gaga,' and she says, 'That Gaga, what a b----!' Sirulnick continued. She did not break character once. She walks in backstage and, in front of a whole bunch of people, went into the men's room. Later, we had all the Young the Giant fans lined up waiting for the band to rehearse their performance, and Jo was walking out of the building to her dressing room and someone yelled 'It's Gaga!' But she didn't respond, just kept on walking, until finally someone yelled, 'Hey, Jo!' and then she turned and waved.
Over the years, lots of people have done lots of things, lots of people have worn lots of things, but no one has been that committed, that in character, Sirulnick laughed. She's smoking in the building, she was holding court in the crowd, you know, Kanye, Katy, Adele, Tony Bennett, they loved it. They respected her commitment and her level of artistry.
Upon news of Lady Gaga opening the show, not much was said publicly about what she would be doing.Right now, I'm obsessed with the archetypes of our psychology and all the different people we can become or have become in the past, Lady Gaga said.
Our potential for the future and how do we in our minds sort of compartmentalize our different personalities. So that's something that I'm fascinated with right now. It's almost as if I'm reviewing my life as a play.
My approach to music and performance is not just about what happens on the stage, she continued. My whole life is a performance, and it's about pushing the boundaries of pop culture and for myself, deciding where the stage begins and ends, not allowing anyone else [to tell] me when or how I can perform. I can perform when I choose.
Indeed, she did choose. She remained as Jo the whole night and even afterwards. In fact, the next we heard of Gaga was when she tweeted her fans the next day. Thank u monsters for supporting @jocalderone attending instead of myself. He came over last night with 2 moonmen, whiskey + we watched VMAs.
For her to go out there and just be so into this character, it was fearless, and you saw a lot of that at the VMAs, Sirulnick said. However, not everyone was as amused or impressed by this performance. Some suggest it could have actually done damage to her career.
What Lady Gaga did left people confused as to who she is, Amanda Guralski, a brand and image consultant told E! Online.She has developed a brand of outlandish clothing and outspokenness, being comfortable born the way you are, but the VMAs was a brand destroyer.
There were no meat dresses, awkward high heals, face paint, or eggs in Gaga's outfit. She wasn't really the Mother Monster most hoped to encounter. The night was embarrassing for Lady Gaga, Guralski continued. If I were her image and branding ?consultant, I would definitely have my work cut out for me. It only takes one appearance to make people question everything.
Gaga's shtick wore out its welcome in the first two minutes, said Edward Paige, a television and music producer.
Gaga's persistence as 'Joe Calderone' [sic] degraded an otherwise enjoyable VMAs, and stood in stark contrast to tasteful and classy presentations by the likes of Adele, Jed Smith, from Beta Fish, told Fox News. Gaga's performance art philosophy may excuse this, but it remains a poor execution of what, at this point, falls squarely into predictably 'random' pattern of behavior.
It seems as if Gaga had to remind people she was Jo. During her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, she referred to herself in the third person. I'm so happy to accept the award tonight because Gaga's not here. ... I know if she was here tonight she'd want me to thank her little monsters.
Fans are torn and the reception of Jo Calderone has been mixed.
I like Jo Calderone better than Lady Gaga, a fan wrote on Twitter.
Gaga better not be jo calderone the whole time , uh im gonna cry /: i want her to be Lady Gaga ! another fan wrote.
Maybe we'll see Gaga soon and she'll tell us more about Jo Calderone. Below are video's of Lady Gaga's appearance on the VMA 2011 as Jo Calderone.