The breakdown also contains influences of tribal-techno music and dubstep. Gaga explained that the lines spoken during the breakdown talks about her being beyond the ability to redeem herself, in terms of the traditional views of what a woman is supposed to be. The artwork for the single was designed by Gaga in Microsoft Word and features a black background with the word "Judas" written in red capital letters. After designing the cover, Gaga took a picture of it with her cell phone, to add further texture. Critics noted similarity between "Judas" and "Bad Romance", but praised the musical production of the song, complimenting its energy and the robotic break down. "Judas" initially had a strong sales opening, but eventually was less successful commercially in comparison to Gaga's previous singles. The song reached the top-ten of the charts in most major music markets, but failed to attain the top position in any of them. It only reached the top of the charts in South Korea and the Hot Dance Club Songs chart of Billboard, in the United States.
Lady Gaga "Judas" Song
A music video for the song was filmed in early April, co-directed by Gaga and Laurieann Gibson and co-starring Norman Reedus. It included a Biblical storyline where Reedus played Judas Iscariot and Gaga played Mary Magdalene. The video portrayed them as modern day missionaries going to Jerusalem. It included the Biblical story of Judas betraying Jesus, and ended with Gaga as Magdalene getting stoned to death. Prior to its release, the Catholic League condemned Gaga for the alleged use of religious imagery and her role in the video. However, critics in general praised the video for its overall delivery and did not find anything offending about it. The video has been noted for its artistic and cultural references, such as to Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, the symbolic Eye of Horus, and several films, such as The Wild One and Romeo + Juliet, amongst others. Gaga has performed "Judas" on a number of television shows, including The Graham Norton Show, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America's "Summer Concert Series", as well as the French X Factor.
The video opens with a motorcycle gang cruising down a freeway, wearing studded leather jackets. The motorcycle gang are the Twelve Apostles that Jesus is said to have, including Judas. Gaga as Mary Magdalene clutches onto a Jesus-like figure (Rick Gonzalez) who wears a golden crown of thorns. Among the riders is Judas, who crosses Gaga's bike as she looks meaningfully towards him. The gang passes under a flyover, when the song starts. They reach their rustic hideout called "Electric Chapel" where Gaga dances wearing a red sarong and a bikini top with crosses covering her nipple. Gaga's character watches curiously as the wily Judas enters the biker club and immediately gets involved in a brawl. While trying to protect Jesus from the fights she attempts to warn him about his apostle's impending betrayal, but becomes hypnotized by Judas' allure. The storyline is interspersed with choreographed dance sequences and close-ups of Gaga with stark imagery, including artistic eye make-up, which was compared to the Egyptian Eye of Horus.
Her flowing blonde hair is accented by a red bandana, blue leather top and puffy white dress in different parts of the clip. The blue top worn by Gaga displays the "Sacred Heart", a depiction of what Jesus is said to have revealed as a symbol of his love for humanity. During the second verses, Gaga points towards Peter during the line "Build a house", and towards herself during "Or sink a dead body". After the second chorus, in a climatic sequence, the singer holds a gun up to Judas' mouth, and a stick of red lipstick bursts out and smears his lips. The scene portrays Gaga's choice to refuse to shoot Judas through the heart. As the breakdown ends, the music stops and Gaga is seen in a bathtub with Jesus and Judas, washing their feet and cleaning it with her hair. The sequence is interspersed with Gaga standing lonely on a rock as waves engulf her, the scene being reminiscent of artist Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus and Jesus marching towards his fatal destiny.
The music restarts and Judas is shown pouring beer in the bathtub. Next Jesus is shown standing on a stage, surrounded by his supporters, the setting being inspired by scaffoldings present around newly constructed buildings in New York. Gaga kneels in front of Jesus and tries to explain something to him, but he places his palm on her head as Judas looks on. After Judas delivers the fateful kiss upon Jesus' cheeks, marking him for his death, Gaga falls on the ground with a silent, anguished cry. The video ends with the death of neither Judas nor Jesus, but of Gaga as she's stoned to death by the crowd. On April 17, 2011, Gaga performed "Judas" at a nightclub called Kennedy Lounge, in Tampa, Florida, after her Monster Ball show in the city's St. Pete Times Forum. Gaga performed "Judas" live on television for the first time on Ellen on April 28, 2011. She was accompanied by a string of male dancers, wearing black monk-like garments, by her side.
The song was performed as a dance-filled number, with Gaga singing the lines while wearing a blue latex ensemble. According to James Dinh from MTV, the "choreography [of the performance] seemingly more difficult than in her usual performances, the singer showcased her best high-energy moves." As the music came to a close, she struck a pose before planting a kiss on the cheek of DeGeneres, who playfully replicated her stance. At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Gaga sang the song for French television show Le Grand Journal. Wearing a gold-embellished ensemble, a red hood and a black-and-white hairstyle, Gaga performed an energetic version of the song accompanied by her male dancers, on a stage in front of the Mediterranean Sea. She explained to host Michel Denisot that the inspiration behind her look was the religious imagery and fashion portrayed in the "Judas" music video. "I've been wearing very romantic, very biblical arrangements, and I always throw in some punk rock for good measure," Gaga added.