With a theme like "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," there was really only one person who could take the stage at the Met Gala: the one and only Madonna. More than 30 years after she first angered the Catholic Church by writhing around onstage at the 1984 MTV VMAs while wearing a pile of crosses and rosaries over a pristine white wedding dress, Madge continued her career's work of melding religious iconography, high fashion, and pure entertainment.
In videos shared by Vogue and other Met Gala attendees, Madonna appeared at the top of a staircase in a brown hooded robe, surrounded by other hooded "monks" singing Gregorian-esque chants. As the chanting continued, Madonna slowly lifted her hood, revealing her face, and launched into a slowed-down version of her 1989 classic "Like a Prayer." According to one of her backup singers, Donald Meineke, the monk-like figures chanted "Like a Prayer" in Latin throughout the performance, as Madonna made her way down the stairs and the music picked up.
Midway down, she stopped and removed her robe to reveal an angelic white dress underneath. As Madonna and a small group of dancers also clad in white had a choreographed struggle across the staircase, she performed a new song that included lyrics like "It's a beautiful plan, but I'm not concerned / It's a beautiful game that I never learned / You have taught me to shut my mouth, better not get burned / Keep your beautiful lies, cause I'm not concerned." According to Genius, Meineke also revealed that the song is called "Beautiful Game" and will be on Madonna's upcoming 14th studio album.
Finally, Madonna sat on the stairs to strap on silver armor over her white dress and began to sing a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." As she sang, she finally made it to the bottom of the stairs, then walked through the crowd before suddenly being lifted into the air, Vogue reports. Decades later, and Madonna is still the high priestess of blurring the line between religion and entertainment.
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