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U.S. Troops Spoof Lady Gaga Video

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U.S. Troops Spoof Lady Gaga Video

U.S. Troops Spoof Lady Gaga Video

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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(Soundbite of song, "Telephone")

LADY GAGA (Musician): (Singing) Hello, hello, baby, you called, I can't hear a thing...


What you're hearing there is the hit single by the flamboyant pop star Lady Gaga. And if you were in the studio with me, what you would be watching is not the star in her video, but a group of men doing their enthusiastic best-to-match-her moves. Not just any men - these are soldiers, soldiers in fatigues.

(Soundbite of song, "Telephone")

LADY GAGA: (Singing) Stop calling, stop calling, I don't wanna talk anymore...

NORRIS: The dancing soldiers are with the 82nd Airborne, stationed in Afghanistan, and their Lady Gaga send-up is a YouTube sensation. And surprisingly, it's gotten a thumbs-up from military brass.

Harold Levine is not in the video, but he is a such a big fan that he's created a Facebook page devoted to the video, and he joins us now.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. HAROLD LEVINE: Thank you for having me, Michele.

NORRIS: I'm watching it here in the studio; you're watching it there in New York. And I'm going to ask you to do a little play-by-play for me.

Mr. LEVINE: All right.

NORRIS: What are we seeing?

Mr. LEVINE: Well, the video opens. It's some temporary looking structure. It's plywood and two-by-fours, and plastic on the windows.

NORRIS: And a refrigerator.

Mr. LEVINE: Yep. And you see two soldiers in their fatigues dancing together. One of them - who we know to be Aaron Melcher - is redhead, little bit of meat on his bones, and he's definitely - sort of the alpha in the video. He's dancing with a comrade who is somewhat thinner. They're holding hands; they are falling into one another's arms. Aaron is up here now, working his hands. He's doing a little flap on one side, flap on the other. Heartbeat sing, his hips are going a mile a minute.

NORRIS: And here it comes, here it comes: the true, full-on hip rotation.

Mr. LEVINE: Oh, yep, here it is, here it is. Back and forth, back...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LEVINE: He is really working it here. His arms, his head, his hips - although his feet are planted in one place.

NORRIS: Change of scenery here. I mean, they're no longer in their fatigues. There's the guy who's wearing what looks to be yellow duct tape and cellophane.

Mr. LEVINE: That, I think, is our boy Aaron. One of the soldiers has a pink ribbon across him that says drama queen, and he's wearing a cut-off black T-shirt that shows his midriff, and they are just getting down here.

NORRIS: You know, the Lady Gaga video, the original video, which is quite long and tells a whole story - it's sort of like "Thelma and Louise" meets "Arsenic and Old Lace," and it's very hard-edged. But this is just - looks like these guys are just having a lot of fun.

Mr. LEVINE: You know, Michele, you're absolutely right. This is just so good-natured. It's almost like the scene from the Army movie where the guys say, let's put on a show. And they get into drag, and they just have fun with some popular culture references.

NORRIS: "Telephone," the Afghanistan remake video, has gotten more than 3 million hits as of today, according to YouTube. What's the appeal here? Why has this gone viral?

Mr. LEVINE: You know, I think that there are a number of reasons. One of them is, when you look at the dismal news this week - the oil spill in the gulf, the terrorist in New York City - it really is the feel-good video of the week. I also think that people really have an affection and love for the service people who are serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq, which certainly show up in the comments on the little fan page that I posted on Facebook.

Almost all of them thank them for the video and then either say, stay safe, God bless you, or get home safely. We like to think that the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who are serving in what are relatively godforsaken places, are well enough and happy enough, and have enough leisure time that they can do something like this - and send it to us to show us that they're OK.

NORRIS: Harold Levine, thank you very much.

Mr. LEVINE: Thank you, Michele.

NORRIS: We've been speaking with Harold Levine. He's the creator of a Facebook page called Aaron Melcher is the Hotness, and Aaron Melcher is a soldier, and the lead dancer in a Lady Gaga video spoof.

(Soundbite of song, "Telephone")

LADY GAGA: (Singing) Stop calling, stop calling, I don't wanna think anymore...


Here's a call we were waiting for: Our colleague Christopher Turpin lived up to his title of executive producer when Marisol Jacqueline Turpin Valdez was born this morning in Washington. Of course, being an executive, Chris did not put in the actual labor. That duty fell to Marisol's mom, Nancy Valdez. Congratulations to the happy parents, and welcome to young Marisol, who in no time should find herself strapped into a car seat next to a rear speaker, being forced to listen to her dad's program, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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