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Stripped down Lady Gaga performs ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ song: ‘You can be your own hero’

The singer gave a surprise performance after it was originally reported she wouldn’t be making an appearance at the 2023 Academy Awards.
/ Source: TODAY

Lady Gaga once again hit the Oscars stage, this time with a surprise performance of “Hold My Hand,” singing a raw rendition of the song from “Top Gun: Maverick.”

The performance at the 2023 Oscars started with Lady Gaga sitting on a stool in a black T-shirt, jeans and sneakers with her hair in a braid. She introduced the song by saying it was written in her studio basement with a friend.

95th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

“It’s deeply personal for me,” she said. “And I think that we all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life. And we all need a hero sometimes.”

She continued, “But you might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken instead."

Gaga was accompanied at first just by a keyboardist. As the song continued, it built to an epic rock ballad, before concluding with the singer belting the last words: “I heard from the heavens.”

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga performs the song "Hold My Hand" from "Top Gun: Maverick" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Chris Pizzello / AP

Gaga was formerly reported to be unavailable for the award show, citing filmmaking conflicts from the upcoming “Joker” sequel.

“It didn’t feel like she can get a performance to the caliber that we’re used to with her and that she is used to. So, she is not going to perform on the show,” Oscars producer Glenn Weiss said in a previous statement, per Variety.

The surprise news came just a few hours before the start of the ceremony. Before her performance, the singer stunned in a black dress, with a wide skirt and sheer long-sleeved top, making her one of many stars seeming to emulate Wednesday Addams.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.Jordan Strauss / AP

Some fans commented on the disconnect between the drama of the performance compared to the tenor of the action movie "Top Gun: Maverick."

"You don’t have to pretend the top gun song is deeply personal to you, gaga," one Twitter user wrote. "It’s the top gun song. it’s for the movie with the planes. it’s the one where they fly fast."

Another likened it to a "Monster Inc." meme.

"The camera panning to Lady Gaga sitting like this," they commented.

“Hold My Hand” was nominated for best original song, making Gaga the first artist to receive three nominations in that category. Previously, she was nominated for “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground” in 2015 and “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” in 2019.

Others performances from the big night included Rihanna, Sofia Carson, Diane Warren, Stephanie Hsu, David Byrne, Son Lux, and Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the third time, the 2023 Oscars are broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with the red carpet starting earlier. The 2023 Oscars are available to watch on ABC and various streaming platforms. 

Leading the list of nominees include “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Banshees of Inisherin.” The list of performers and presenters includes Rihanna, following her Super Bowl halftime show, and the viral Telugu-language hit “Naatu Naatu.”

Follow for complete Oscars coverage, including this year’s winners and unexpected moments.