Before she was famous

Love her, hate her or simply don’t understand what all the fuss is about, one must, at the very least, concede that Lady Gaga has become a pop phenomenon this year. With her outrageous outfits and stage antics (and her one-woman crusade to bring back the music video, hooray!), she’s a little bit David Bowie, Madonna and Andy Warhol, but also something indefinably new. However, in 2005, as this Web clip proves, she was just Stefani Germanotta, an N.Y.U. freshman competing in an annual talent show.

Without the crazy wigs, leotards and extreme makeup, Germanotta/Gaga looks unrecognizably normal, but what’s interesting about this clip is
the same fact that tends to deflate all the anti-Gaga-ists: The woman sure can play the piano and sing! She didn’t win this particular contest (and was, in fact, compared to Norah Jones—the horror!), but that’s O.K. We’re sure she won’t stop till she takes over the world.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Before she was famous