Lady Gaga’s duet with Metallica at Sunday’s Grammys reaffirmed the “John Wayne” singer can hold her own against rock's heaviest hitters

By Joey Nolfi and Ale Russian
February 12, 2017 10:10 PM
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

One week after taking the biggest stage on television as the Super Bowl LI halftime show headliner, Lady Gaga joined Metallica at the Grammys for a fiery set that was unfortunately marred by a microphone malfunction.

Performing “Moth into Flame,” Gaga got the song off to an energetic start, but they soon hit a snag when lead singer James Hetfeld tried to sing his verse and realized his microphone wasn’t working. The pros soldiered on, with only Gaga’s singing audible for the first few minutes.

The rocker took out his frustration with the non-working mic by knocking it down near the middle of the performance, instead sharing Gaga’s as they both sang together. The malfunction came right after Adele had to restart her George Michael tribute.

Gaga, however, still had a blast throughout the high-energy set as she danced and even briefly jumped into the audience’s arms to crowd surf before being heaved back onstage and continuing on with the song. The singer was wearing a back-bearing Metallica crop top that showed off the new tattoo in honor of the band. She revealed the ink on Instagram just hours before the show began.

The performance was announced in a television commercial that aired Monday night on CBS. During a Wednesday interview with Zane Lowe, Gaga said her A Star Is Born director and costar, Bradley Cooper, facilitated the Metallica collaboration.

“I was at Bradley’s house with Lars [Ulrich] and we were just hanging out. He’s amazing,” said Gaga, referencing the rock band’s co-founder and drummer. “I went to see them live, I’ve seen them a couple times live, but I saw them recently… and we were watching the show and I’ll tell you something, those guys play better than they’ve played in their whole lives.”

“See you at the Grammys. #MetalliGa,” she Tweeted early Sunday morning.

This year’s gig marks Gaga’s third straight year on the Recording Academy’s stage, having sung “Cheek to Cheek” (a cover lifted from their Grammy-winning album of the same name) alongside Tony Bennett in 2015, followed by her show-stopping medley tribute to the late David Bowie at the 2016 Grammys ceremony.

Gaga has six competitive Grammys to her name, while Metallica, nominated again this year for Best Rock Song (“Hardwired”), have eight.

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A self-admitted fan of metal music, Gaga, who performed in a Led Zeppelin cover band as an up-and-coming singer, belted an acapella version of the group’s “Black Dog” on The Howard Stern Show last October. She also included a track called “Heavy Metal Lover” on her 2011 studio set Born This Way, an album that features sonic inspiration from ’80s arena rock.