Generally speaking, the only thing people love more than watching a pop star fall out of public favor is a comeback. (Madonna and Britney can tell you a little bit about that.)

And after tonight, it seems to be happening all over again: Lady Gaga has successfully pulled off what is, hopefully, the first major step in her grand return to form.

Granted, there have been baby steps along the way since the tides first started to turn against Gags about two or three years ago: She’s hopping back in the studio with RedOne, the producer responsible for co-helming her earliest hits, adopting an increasingly glamorous look (which, mercifully, involves less puke) and showcasing her powerful chops, from her extended run as a jazz singer with Mr. Tony Bennett with Cheek To Cheek to her tribute to Stevie Wonder.

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Gaga, quite literally cleaning up her act.

The night kicked off with a bang, as Gaga hit the red carpet in a very Gaga looking dress (“IT’S CUSTOM AZZEDINE ALAIA, THE FIRST TIME IT’S EVER BEEN DONE FOR SOMEONE AT THE OSCARS!!!!!” squawks a Little Monster nearby) and a pair of red dishwashing gloves, which she apparently forgot to take off before hitting the red carpet. Yaaaaaaasss, Gaga. Get the children talking, Mother Monster! (There is likely a very longwinded explanation for those gloves involving art, cinema and pop culture — best not to ask.)

In case it wasn’t already abundantly obvious by now, Gags is a major musical theater geek at heart. And so, given the right opportunity — what else screams “THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY” quite like a tribute to The Sound Of Music? — she went full force tonight to deliver the dream performance she’s likely been practicing in her bedroom well before she was Stef, the drama nerd at Tisch.

Without any Koons balls weighing her down, Gaga served up offerings from The Sound Of Music on the stage with zero frills: The gown was gorgeous. The look was glamorous. But most of all, the voice was stupendous. Really, really great. Pipes for days! It was almost like watching a Disney Princess come to life.

And then came the glittery cherry on top: Queen Julie Andrews herself, walking out on stage and embracing the blubbering emotional wreck that was, at one point, Lady Gaga.

That one embrace then created a rip in the LGBT time-space continuum — a perfect storm of homo: Rainbow confetti showered from from the sky, while Liza Minnelli lowered down on top of a well-oiled muscle daddy singing “Don’t Drop Bombs,” and Paris Is Burning played on all the screens while Chris Pine and Channing Tatum took off their shirts and made out in the crowd.

I mean, look: I can’t stand musical theater (#unapologetic, revoke my gay membership), and yet I was still utterly gagging for Gags. She’s an incredible singer, after all. And just like Miss Miley, it’s nice when she cuts the shtick now and then to showcase her talent to the world to enjoy.

If Jazz Gaga hasn’t already done the trick in the past year, then Theater Gaga surely just got her back in the general public’s good graces. Now here’s hoping Pop Star Gaga is coming along for the ride soon, too.

(Amazing header via Twitter)