Lady Gaga Works for the 'Applause' at VMAs

08/25/2013 at 09:30 PM EDT

Lady Gaga Performance 'Applause' at MTV VMAs
Lady Gaga
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

A round of applause and a standing ovation for Lady Gaga, who kicked off Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards like only a showgirl could.

Nearly two weeks after dropping "Applause" a week early, the singer took the Barclays Center stage for a jazz hands-raising rendition of her single, the first off her upcoming album, ARTPOP.

Taking a page straight out of her music video, the predictably unpredictable performer stripped off her white, face-framing costume to reveal a Fosse-worthy showgirl get-up. (But that wasn't nearly as impressive as her new favorite paint that somehow ended up on her face in perfect precision mid-dance.)

The performance marks her first major return to the stage since a hip injury in February derailed her Born This Way Ball tour.

Tell us in the comments below: How does her performance compare to her previous VMA appearances, including her gender-bending turn as "Jo Calderone" and her blood-soaked rendition of "Paparazzi"?

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