Is Lady Gaga’s ‘Jo Calderone’ Character Interesting? Or Just Exhausting?

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Singer Lady Gaga dressed as "Jo Calderone", winner of Best Female Video Award and Best Video with a Message Award for "Born This Way" poses in the press room during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) Photo: Jason Merritt/2011 Getty Images

Let it never be said that Lady Gaga lacks commitment. She appeared only as her "alter ego" Jo Calderone on last night's VMAs, sticking with her drag persona for a song performance, an awkward bit with Britney Spears, and even doing the backstage press room as the Pacino-coiffed character. But ... why does Lady Gaga need an alter ego? Are there really things the regular Gaga can't say or do onstage, so much so that it necessitates an entire additional persona? Is there a point at which Gaga's shtick moves past interesting or entertaining to plain-old irritating? Did she commit to it so hard that that became compelling? Is there an upper limit to Lady Gaga's ability to manipulate popular intrigue?