RedOne: “Michael Jackson Thought Lady Gaga Was a Genius”

Speaking to a Moroccan subsidiary of Entertainment Tonight, RedOne (born Nadir Khayat) revealed that the King of Pop himself had some very flattering opinions of Gaga, and specifically “Poker Face”:

In rough translation, it’d seem RedOne says that “Michael Jackson loved “Poker Face” and though the person who wrote the song was a genius.”

Very high praise for the “Applause” star indeed, and news she would have undoubtedly been thrilled to learn. Gaga was rumored to have been signed on as an opening act for Michael’s farewell ‘This Is It Tour’, but he passed away before the show debuted. The Tony Bennett collaborator then went on to buy a whopping 55 outfits owned by the legendary pop star at auction after his death, presumably spending thousands of dollars. Now that’s devotion.

And let’s be real, Michael Jackson’s not wrong, is he? “Poker Face” is still one of Gaga’s most enduring hits, sounding almost as fresh today as it did when ‘The Fame’ debuted back in 2008. Hopefully the “Cheek to Cheek” star will be returning to this kind of innovation on her RedOne collaborations for her forthcoming pop record.

This news comes after a very different kind of legend slammed Gaga – one of the most well established and respected musical theatre composers, Stephen Sondheim, called her performance at the Academy Awards “a travesty.”

In a feature with British newspaper The Times, Sondheim said of Gaga:

“It was ridiculous, as it would be from any singer who treats that music in semi-operatic style. She had no relationship to what she was singing. What people liked was her versatility.”

A scathing critique indeed, and quite dissimilar to most people’s reaction to the multi-platinum recording artist’s debut Oscar appearance; indeed, her medley of numbers from ‘The Sound of Music’ drew widespread critical acclaim.

To be frank, Sondheim’s comments are probably more informed by the (boring and misinformed) habit the world of musical theatre has of looking down on pop music than by Gaga’s actual performance. You’d be hard-pressed to call her effort “ridiculous” no matter what you thought of her connection to the material at hand.

What do YOU think? Lady Gaga: genius or travesty?