By Ray Rahman
August 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Going into tonight’s VMAs, there was one narrative that ran through pretty much every pre-game conversation: how would Lady Gaga’s handle her opening duties, and how would it stack up to Katy Perry’s closing gig?

Well, now we know at least half of that equation. With a closeup of her face surrounded by white poster board, Gaga kicked the ceremony off in an operatic and characteristically kooky fashion. The camera zoomed out to reveal her dressed as a sort of cubist nun, the first of many costumes for the next few minutes.

As expected, Gaga performed her new single “Applause” backed up by a battery of backup dancers. She donned many outfits throughout — most of them seemingly culled from the song’s video — including several blond wigs, ’80s-style shoulder pads, bowling balls (you read that right), and, towards the end, basically nothing at all.

All in all, Gaga’s performance was solid but, stylistcally, nothing to call home about. Time (as in, a couple of hours) will tell how it compares to Katy Perry’s closer… But until then, how do you think she did?