Madonna, back in the Superstar spotlight with her “W.E.” film and her date to perform at the Super Bowl, finally addressed the matter of her self-described biggest fan, Lady Gaga.
Of the homage to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” that is intrinsic to Gaga’s “Born This Way,” she told ABC’s Cynthia McFadden it “feels reductive.” As in reduced, abridged, less than. She also said “I can’t really be annoyed by it…because obviously, I’ve influenced her.”
Obviously indeed. Where does the line fall between being influenced by someone and plain old copying them? Grace Jones, another Gaga influence, was quoted in the U.K. saying, “I’ve seen some things she’s worn that I’ve worn, and that does kind of p— me off.” But it’s Madonna, more than other celeb, who keeps getting the Gaga déjà vu. Acknowledging that both ladies’ talents are far beyond those of more run-of-the mill stars, we decided to run a comparison check:
Madonna, nee Madonna Louise Ciccione
Birthplace: Bay City, Michigan
Height: 5′ 4½”
Lady Gaga, nee Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Birthplace: New York City
Madonna record-holding: The Top Selling female recording artist of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, with more than 300 million records sold world-wide.
Lady Gaga record-holding: First music artist to get a billion viral views on You Tube; Most Followers of anyone on Twitter — 13 million – according to 2012 edition of Guinness Book of World Records.
Madonna, Structure: Flab-free perfect muscular dancer’s body, and toned yoga arms
Gaga, Structure: Flab-free almost androgynous-looking body with bones apparent
Madonna, watch it with those things: Cone bras
Gaga, watch it with those things: Machine gun bras
Madonna, ancestry: Italian and French Canadian
Gaga, Ancestry: Italian and French Canadian
Madonna, outrageously eye-catching in: “Erotica” book S&M gear, “Sex” book nudity including nudity hitchhiking; topless with black leather, whips in a stable evoke bestiality in a W photo spread; male drag and more.
Gaga, outrageously eye-catching in: “Alejandro” video S&M gear, meat dress, plastic bubble dress, Muppet dress, antlers, horns, no pants, male drag, lobster hats, dozens of other wacky performance art-ish outfits.
Madonna, Family: One of eight children of an automobile design engineer father, she lost her mom to breast cancer when she was a young child. The traumatic life event scarred and strengthened her.
Lady Gaga, Family: Elder of two sisters. Her father Joseph is an internet entrepreneur, mother worked in telecommunications. Resists description of childhood as “affluent,” but it was at least comfortable.
Madonna, Coming of Age: Dropped out of the University of Michigan, where she attended on a dance scholarship, and headed to New York City on her own to make it as a performer with $35 in her pocket. “The bravest thing I’d ever done.” She worked at Dunkin’ Donuts until her dance gigs supported her, eventually getting into the music scene, singing, playing drums and guitar in her earliest bands.
Lady Gaga, Coming of Age: Dropped out of NYU, where she was a musical theater student at the Tisch School on early acceptance (age 17). A pianist from age 4 and song writer from age 13, she went and got her own apartment in the City (her father agreed to pay the rent for a year) to make it as a performer. Before she hit it big, she says burlesque dancing was her No. 1 source of income.
Madonna, Religious Background: Had a strict Catholic upbringing. Now she strongly supports the Jewish related Kabbalah faith.
Gaga, Religious Background: Grew up in the Roman Catholic faith, attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart private all-girls school on Manhattans Upper East Side.
Madge, Provoking the Church: In the “Like a Prayer” video, she danced in front of burning crosses and it was so controversial that she lost her endorsement with Pepsi. Ongoing tweaks, such as her “Immaculate Collection” compilation album. More recently, upset the church leaders by performing a song during her concerts while hanging from a cross.
Gaga, Provoking the Church: Her “Alejandro” video with Gaga sucking on rosary beads and wearing a nun’s habit in scenes suggesting S&M and group sex led to Katy Perry’s Tweet: “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.” Her “Judas” song caused the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to accuse her of blasphemy, too.
Relationship status, Madonna: Twice divorced (Sean Penn, Guy Ritchie), son Rocco with Ritchie, daughter Lourdes with Carlos Leon. She’s been linked to choreographer Brahim Rachiki and studly male model Jesus Luz in recent years.
Relationship status, Gaga: Single, boyfriend of six months is handsome actor and model Taylor Kinney
Madonna and girls: She made headlines by deep kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the VMA awards.
Gaga and girls: Proclaims her bisexuality.
Madonna influences: The Supremes, Martha Graham, Karen Carpenter, Led Zeppelin, Rudolf Nureyev
Gaga influences: Madonna, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono
Madonna, Quote: “People think being a star is about being fabulous, having your picture taken all the time, going to parties in limousines, having everyone worship and adore you, being rich, rich, rich… …having it all. And you know what? They’re absolutely right.”
Gaga, Quote: “I’ve made it my goal to revolutionize pop music. The last revolution was launched by Madonna 25 years ago.”