Lady Gaga‘s newest alter ego has emerged from incubation and is already causing trouble. Gaga introduced “Yuyi,” a wheelchair-bound goth-mermaid, to her Australian fans last week at a show in Sydney. The Aussie Monsters loved Yuyi, but not everyone was as excited. Not surprisingly, disability advocates everywhere are calling Gaga out for using paralysis for shock-value. But her biggest opponent may surprise you. What on earth could have Bette Midler in such an uproar over Gaga’s mermaid get-up?
Well, in 1980, Bette did the exact same routine.
Maybe you believe that Gaga thought her mermaid-in-a-wheelchair routine was completely innovative and original, but think again. Bette took to her Twitter account to confront Gaga:
@BetteMidler: Dear @ladygaga if you think a mermaid in a wheelchair seems familiar—it’s because it is! You can see it on youtube 24/7-with ME performing it.
@BetteMidler: I’m not sure @ladygaga knows that I’ve performed my mermaid in a wheelchair for millions of people — and many of them are still alive…..
@BetteMidler: Dear @ladygaga Ive been doing singing mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980—You can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits—mermaid’s mine.”
Gaga has vehemently denied any sort of style-jacking. Despite the obvious similarities, she claims she had no idea that Yuyi wasn’t the first and only wheelchair-bound mermaid. She told “Access Hollywood,” “I had no idea that she did that and I’m a huge Bette Midler fan … Obviously I feel connected to women in theatre and women from the past … Maybe we’re just cut from the same cloth. I couldn’t hop around in that tail so I just stuck myself in a wheelchair. All I’ll say is that I … admire her and find her to be one of the most brilliant and incredible performers.”
Well, that does make sense. We’ve never tried to dance (and sing and be Lady Gaga) while having our legs and feet bound in a mermaid costume, but we’re guessing it would be hard.
But this is where things get a little unclear. After Gaga’s Sydney show, she surprised fans by doing two more impromptu shows at local clubs, and on the way in, Gaga and her entourage were pelted with eggs! Perhaps the egg hurlers were as upset as Roman Reed, an advocate for spinal cord injury research. Reed also hit Twitter to speak his mind:
@SpinalCordCure: “Dear @ladygaga how about using your celebrity status 2 try 2 get us out of wheelchairs. Instead of cruising one. Cool?!”
@SpinalCordCure: I like @ladygaga & would like hrr to help fund the research to get us out of our chairs like she can. Were on the Edge:-)”
Yuyi has caused some drama, but perhaps it’s for the best. Midler has changed her tune a bit and reached out to Gaga, via Twitter of course, saying, “Let’s drink this over at the Emmys in September. Fabulous mermaids can coexist!” Should we start looking forward to a Lady Gaga/Bette Midler collaboration? Seems like the MTV Video Music Awards would be all over this one.
What do you think? Did Gaga steal Bette’s routine? Is Yuyi an imposter? And most importantly, who did it better?