Lady Gaga appeared from nowhere. One day you’d never heard of her, the next she was everywhere, the mentalist New Yorker with a big mouth, some half-decent pop tunes and a gyroscope on her head. Or a trilby. Or the kind of hat Nelson wore at Trafalgar.

Stefani Germanotta, 23, is famous for being famous. Lady Gaga, the tabloid-friendly persona she has carefully crafted for herself over the past three years, is tabloid gold, arriving with a flash bang wallop and leaving us to read all about it the next day. But why? Who is she? What’s behind the daft masks and beneath the wigs and make-up? And why does she divide us like no one woman ever before? FHM presents the case for and the case against the posturing Poker Face poseur…

The case for
First, the facts. Lady Gaga is not manufactured, nor is she devoid of talent, hence Poker Face, the second track off her 2.3 million-selling album Fame reaching number one in 20 countries (also known as every major music market in the world). She is also not being manipulated by some pop svengali and she is not about to disappear into obscurity. Her ‘Best Dance Recording’ Grammy nomination for Fame’s first track Just Dance reinforces this point.

In fact, she’s the new Christina Aguilera and she is here to stay. She was born to a middle-class Italian New York family and learned to play piano by ear by the age of just four. By the time she was 13 she had penned her first ballad. Tap ‘Lady Gaga acoustic’ into YouTube and be amazed by a 14-year-old girl on piano. Gradually, via art college, her ‘Lady Gaga’ persona (her nickname inspired by the Queen hit Radio Ga Ga) started taking shape.

Obsessed with ‘the performance’, she began referencing the likes of pop artist Andy Warhol, David Bowie and the now-dead fashion designer Gianni Versace. And the part-time stripper act she performed in her late teens was “pretty wild, setting hairspray alight and dancing madly”. Barely into her 20s, she was finally signed and writing songs for Pussycat Dolls, New Kids On The Block and even Britney.

But in Lady Gaga, Interscope Records also saw an artist with vision who’d drive men wild. Her bisexuality only adds to her mystique. She also claims that she sleeps with her fellow band members “because it’s easier than having a boyfriend.” In short, Lady Gaga is the ultimate package: 23, wild and up for it. And there’s no question she puts thought into her lyrics: what man can argue with a scantily clad showgirl who uses lyrics like “Bluffin’ with my muffin” (Poker Face) or who talks about riding on “your disco stick” (LoveGame)? “It’s another of my very thoughtful metaphors for a cock,” she says, with refreshing candour.

The case against
What a dippy, self-obsessed minger. She told mincing Paul O’Grady, “I try to ignore all the hype and stay focused on the music and pleasing my fans,” which is a bit like the guys from Slipknot saying, “That whole image thing happened by accident.” Everything about Lady Gaga is contrived, from the stupid, Queen-referencing name to the tasteless outfits to the cheesy lyrics that pepper her sub-X-Factor drivel.

If you saw her on Jonathan Ross, you’d have seen her for the unpleasant, unremarkable little poser she is, the worst kind of brain-dead Yank with nothing to say. Lady Gaga went to a convent school – the same one that Paris Hilton went to – so we’re expected to believe that slipping out of limos in massive sequined granny knickers is all part of her ‘emancipation’, no questions asked.

Bereft of any kind of business sense, she is skint and claims that every dollar she earns goes on “props and fashion”, when anyone with even a gram of sense would have squirreled away every last cent of it because once the novelty off her wannabe-Christina caterwauling wears off (ETA: five minutes) she will quickly revert to her previous role of a semi-talented Liza Minnelli impersonator with a bad taste in frocks.

She is bisexual because it’s trendy; she’s a pouting, high-maintenance, on-planet-nine airhead and she’s got a big nose. Her boobs are like pin-pricks, her speaking voice a deep, lifeless drone – like a baritone mosquito on downers – and she embodies all that is wrong with America, art college, fashion and, right at the bottom of the list, music, for it is here that she is at her most irrelevant. She also has hummus on her rider.

Still not sure what to make of her or whether, you know, given the opportunity, you’d do her? Hmm. Us, too. In fact, this question proved so divisive in the FHM office that one senior staff member sent round an e-mail that read: ‘URGENT: “How the hell is this girl famous? She’s hideous under all that slap, dresses like a transexual and her songs sound like Britney B-sides.

We should write a feature on how easy it is to fool the general public into believing such unmitigated tripe is worth buying by the truckload…” Other staff members just growled in a deep, longing tone and gently stroked their monitors. Which is exactly why Lady Gaga’s like Marmite: you either love her or hate her. And it’s exactly this divisive nature that’ll ensure she’s around for some time yet…