Wow: the 90-minute, incessantly hyped Lady Gaga episode of "Glee" turned out to be a serious flop.
Not only was it beaten by the first episode of NBC's new show "The Voice," it was the lowest-rated episode of the season.
A "Glee"-Gaga collaboration seemed unbeatable until it wasn't.
And the episode's failure is an equally bad sign for both of them.
Here's what it means for Gaga: her rise to hysterical, ubiquitous star status happened with incredible speed. Now, she's plateauing -- or maybe even slipping. (If "Glee" fans won't tune in for her, who will?)
Plus, the criticism long-hurled against the singer -- that her fame comes from outfits and controversy, not musical innovation -- is finally catching up with her.
Case in point: she releases "Judas" during Easter week to roil up the Catholics. Meanwhile, the only thing anyone has to say about the actual music is "sounds like Madonna."
Failing to reel in a "Glee" audience should teach Gaga that she's got to work as hard as any other artist to keep her fans -- and the recording studio, not the person-sized-egg-factory, is where that work should take place.
Then there's "Glee" itself. We've already complained that the show is neglecting the characters that made it so lovable -- and going in circles with storylines.
Now, it's eminently clear that stunts like the 90-minute Gaga episode aren't going to keep the show afloat. Which means serious change had better be in store for season three -- change that includes some paring down.
It's fine -- wonderful, even -- to have big, glimmering moments. That's at the heart of the show's appeal. But we don't need to be showered with heavy moral messages, slapdash romances and loophole-laced stakes for a full hour.
And finally, we come to NBC. Guess what, NBC? We have nothing but good news for you. "The Voice" might very well be the ratings panacea the network needs so desperately. People chose Adam Levine over Lea Michele in droves last night -- and you don't see that every day.
Don't be surprised if Lady Gaga calls, asking to make an appearance.