In six words, Lady Gaga blew up the Internet.
It wasn’t about her engagement, her adorable friendship with Tony Bennett, her dog Asia or a new album announcement. Instead, it was something no one ever could have imagined. It was a video proclamation that she would be in the upcoming fifth season of American Horror Story, which she also revealed to be called “Hotel.”
Gaga will be a series regular, inspiring this post that accompanies the video on the show’s official Facebook page states: “Mother Monster is one of us…”
The clue about Hotel and Gaga was in the fourth episode of Freak Show in which the camera lingers on a coffee cup with a large top hat logo, according to Entertainment Weekly. The clue was once believed to be linked to Operation Top Hat, which occurred in Alabama in 1953 and involved U.S. Army Chemical Corps testing biological and chemical weapons and gasses for decontamination.
Now, EW confirms the logo is actually a reference to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic 1935 film Top Hat, which is set in a hotel. As for the Gaga connection, the logo is a nod to “Cheek to Cheek,” which was originally written for Astaire to sing to Rogers in Top Hat and is among the duets Gaga sings with Bennett on their album.
The top hat is also referenced in the fourth season as Edward Mordrake’s signature accessory to hide his Quirrell-Voldemort-like issue as well as in the name of the diner that Jimmy and the other freaks frequented — The Top Hat Diner.
Gaga is a really interesting choice for the show. She’s quietly been building up her persona as genuine talent instead of someone who relies on outlandish costumes to gain popularity. Her Sound of Music tribute at the 87th annual Academy Awards proves she’s completed her transition. No one is questioning her talent now.
The combination of that stunning performance and this AHS announcement has catapulted Gaga’s popularity and caliber as a star. AHS and other miniseries like it, for example True Detective, are perfect for high profile stars like Gaga, Jessica Lange and Matthew McConaughey because they allow these celebrities to be the lead of a series and still only have a small commitment.
However, there is the pressing question about Gaga’s acting capabilities. She really only has two small credits in Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For as evidence for her acting chops. Unfortunately, neither gives a great glimpse into her talents. Her role as La Camaleón in Machete Kills really just looks like the start of one of her bizarre music videos, and no one should really count anything in Sin City as “acting.”
But she was great in her cameo in Muppets Most Wanted.
Overall, it’s important to remember how theatrical Gaga is in her music videos and daily life. Plus, she won’t go into this gig unprepared. After all, she worked with a vocal coach every day for six months to nail that Sound of Music tribute. Entertainment Weekly says Gaga has been in talks with AHS creator Ryan Murphy since last fall, so she has ample prep time to knock this performance out of the park.
The dedication and determination isn’t in question, however that doesn’t guarantee a solid performance. Even series regulars couldn’t put on a great show in the series’ worst season Freak Show.
Which brings up an important point that the inclusion of Gaga in the upcoming fifth season is likely a ploy to maintain viewership after a detrimental, lackluster fourth season. Let’s hope Hotel has a set focus and theme and returns to the glory of the first three seasons. The hotel room’s TV remote and bed spread won’t be enough to spur an entire season — even if they are nightmare-inducing.
Lastly, let’s quickly discuss the name: Hotel. Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue?! Of all the names, it’s the least appealing. The third season was about witches, but it just sounds so much better to say Coven. Freak Show is much more intimidating than Circus or Carnival. It’s just a bit off-putting and unremarkable.
As a fan of the show, hopes are very high for this new season after the incredibly tedious and uneventful Freak Show. With Lange very likely to be absent, it’s hard to imagine what this season will look and feel like. Plus, another AHS staple Sarah Paulson’s future is in flux as she is currently tapped to star in Murphy’s other show American Crime Story whose first season will focus on the O.J. Simpson trial.
With all of these shakeups, American Horror Story: Hotel can be as frightening as the hot tub at the local Red Roof Inn or be more like the glamorous Plaza in New York City. Or, we can expect another Tower of Terror. Keep your fingers crossed for Kirsten Dunst.