just to throw in my belated 2 cents about the whole Jo Calderone thing, I thought it was perfect. I’ve still been a fan of Gaga throughout Born This Way, but it didn’t matter to me personally as an album nearly as much as The Fame Monster did, and only got like 5 or 6 full-album listens before I moved on to something else. I get what she’s been doing and I respect it, but the themes behind TFM were just a lot more interesting and relevant for me than BTW. Behind all of this was my on-going concern that she can’t achieve longevity by trying to out-spectacle herself with every performance. At some point she needs to scale back, to remind us why she’s able to go nuts and pull it off: because she’s really fucking talented. I think that’s what she was trying to do with the Edge of Glory video, and while on some levels it worked, it also came across as dull. Her VMA performance, how ever, was scaled-back perfection. Just her (him, whatever) and her words and a piano. The monologue was interesting, it reminded me that she is capable of interesting ideas and interesting thoughts, and once upon a time used theatrics to amplify that instead of just distracting from it (the BTW video still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth). And the performance had all the power of her best live renditions, and every bit as much straightforward ability as Adele.
So no, I don’t think the drag alter ego is a gimmick. It’s a tool, and it’s one she’s using well. Finally.