Well, that was very . . . Gaga. Lady Gaga opened up the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards -- her first live performance of new single "Applause" and her return to the stage since hip surgery earlier this year -- in bizarre, creepy fashion. Inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center, before launching into her comeback single, the pop provocateur, 27, began with an a cappella operatic performance with her famous face encased in a white cube. After several moments of an extreme closeup, the camera panned back to reveal the rest of Gaga's getup, an all-white, nun-like habit with pearls.

Finally kicking into "Applause," Gaga changed her look onstage with the help of backup dancers, with her head briefly appearing detached from her body in a clever trick.

As the performance wore on, Gaga slipped into more recognizable looks: A platinum-blonde symmetrical wig with a sequined jacket (her "Poker Face" look) and then a bright-yellow, Marilyn-Monroe-style look (a nod to a 2010 look). The Grammy winner's final look? A long curly blonde wig and the sculptural bikini worn in her "Applause" clip.

Before the show began, Gaga (wearing a black Prabal Gurung gown) teased MTV's Sway about what was in store: "It's going to be awesome, it is a great show, I am so excited for the fans to see it."

Watch the video now: What'd you think of Gaga's performance?