VMAs: Lady Gaga Performs "Applause," Changes Costume Four Times

Lady Gaga has waited a long time to hear your applause. Sidelined with a hip injury following the release of her 2011 album, Born This Way, the pop star has been unable to perform live for her Little Monsters... until now. And just as she emerged from an egg — where she stayed encased for 72 hours — at the 2011 Video Music Awards, Gaga was reborn again on the VMA stage, kickstarting this year's show with her new single, "Applause."

Prior to taking the VMA stage, Gaga told red carpet correspondent Sway that MTV asked her to one-up herself since her 2011 performance, and she certainly attempted to do so. Starting the performance wearing what appeared to be a white graduation frock and a poster board mask (or The Soup's dancing maxi pad), Gaga made sure her expression matched the weirdness of her outfit. Just see that constant wide-eyed stare at the camera. (Were those boos we heard from the audience, or all part of Gaga's art show that TV viewers couldn't see live?)

"It's showtime," the singer said, before ridding herself of the frock, and delivering a whopping four costume changes in less than five minutes. That's right — four costume changes. The singer — whose ARTPOP album hits shelves Nov. 11 — rolled through every look from her "Applause" music video, from her jester-inspired black spandex to her Venus-inspired shell bikini. (But where was the black swan?) If Gaga's idea of one-upping her "Born This Way" performance was upping her costume changes, she certainly did the trick. Still, we can't help but miss the egg.