Why Lady Gaga has the chops to rule the world
After her latest antics, Joe O'Shea asks how far the pop star will go
Lady Gaga's push for world domination is almost complete. Dressed in an outfit made totally out of cuts of meat and accepting one of eight MTV Video Music Awards in LA on Sunday night, the 24-year-old global pop phenomenon could take a rare pause for breath.
As an outrageous pop diva from another generation, Cher, handed her yet another Moonman statuette (the VMA version of the Oscar), Lady G quipped: "I never thought I'd be asking Cher to hold my meat purse."
Rivals such as Katy Perry and Ke$ha did try to compete for the limelight.
Perry was dolled up liked a 40s pin-up girl and had her nails decorated with portraits of her fiancé Russell Brand, while Ke$ha copied the Gaga book by turning up in a dress made out of black bin-liners.
But how could they compete against a star who reprised last week's outrageous, beef-bikini cover shot for Japanese Men's Vogue by accepting one of her awards while wearing the contents of a deli counter?
When Perry and Ke$ha saw Lady G on the red carpet in the first of six eye-catching outfits, an Alexander McQueen gown topped off with a gold feather headdress, they must have felt like slipping into their jim-jams.
The only questions remaining after the VMAs are how can the girl born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta top her latest performances, and how far will she go?
The singer announced that the title of her second studio album, the follow-up to The Fame Monster, will be titled Born This Way.
Her next album will be awaited by millions of fans around the world, her rivals and music-industry bosses who have been wowed by her ability to exploit the IT revolution to achieve astounding success.
While record companies and many established acts have struggled to adapt to social networking, online sales and web phenomena like YouTube, Lady Gaga has shown the kind of savvy that would impress Bill Gates or Apple's Steve Jobs.
Her video for 'Bad Romance' has been watched nearly 278 million times to date on YouTube and music video site Vevo.
Her talent for self-promotion and her ability to always be ahead of the curve in fashion and music trends have drawn comparisons with another self-made pop queen of Italian-American descent, Madonna.
However, while Madonna grafted for years in the sweaty clubs of New York, patiently making contacts, and building her profile, Lady Gaga arrived as a fully formed star and simply commanded the world's attention.
Like Madonna, Lady Gaga has borrowed greatly from gay culture for her music and image and she made sure to thank her "little monsters" (her fond term for her fans) and "the gays" for their support.
She used the awards to promote her political causes, specifically drawing attention to a group that represents gay service men and women in the US military.
She was accompanied up the red carpet by various apparently discharged soldiers in uniform, part of the campaign for the ending of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy which seeks to prevent openly gay soldiers from serving in the US military.
Those who have worked with her say she is fiercely intelligent and very driven, with an instinctive gift for creating hook-laden pop songs.
Unlike Britney Spears, Lady Gaga has had the benefit of a big city, private education and the chance to work inside the industry as a songwriter (her mega duet with Beyoncé, 'Telephone', was written for, and rejected by, Britney).
She began her education at Sacred Heart School Catholic School in her native New York and then went to the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she was one of only a handful of students ever granted early admission.
Her rise, after being spotted by Interscope music executive Vincent Herbert, has been spectacular, and she was recently named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
After this weekend's VMAs, Lady Gaga (the name was inspired by the 80s Queen hit 'Radio Ga Ga') can do pretty much what she wants.
If she can avoid a Britney-style meltdown, and she seems too smart for that, Lady Gaga could outdo even the apparently immortal Madonna and become the biggest pop star in history.