Lady Gaga's Artpop gets Chinese makeover

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Lady Gaga's Artpop album cover art gets photoshopped to cover her up.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Lady Gaga's Artpop album cover art gets photoshopped to cover her up.

Chinese authorities have lifted a three-year ban on Lady Gaga's music, but only after ordering the flamboyant pop diva to cover her bare legs and partly visible breasts on the front of her album Artpop.

In the cover art approved by Chinese authorities, black stockings have been added and the ball behind which Gaga is sitting is substantially enlarged to cover most of the singer's body.

The song title Sexxx Dreams has also been changed to X Dreams.

Gaga's official Twitter feed said the 27-year-old pop icon was excited about the ban being lifted, but made no mention about the enforced changes to the album.

"The Chinese Government approved ARTPOP to be released in China with all 15 songs! Next I hope I can come to perform!"

Artpop is now available for preorder in China, which will officially go on sale on January 31, more than two months after it topped the US Billboard charts in November.

In 2011, China's Ministry of Culture added six Lady Gaga songs from her second album Born This Way, including Edge of Glory and Americano, to a blacklist of 100 foreign songs.

Authorities said her music was "against regulations" and accused her songs of "creating confusion in the order of the online music market, and damaging the nation's cultural security".

Now, all 15 tracks on Artpop will be released uncensored.

Other Western artists taken off the government blacklist include Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and '90s boyband Backstreet Boys.

Exactly how officials choose which song to remove from the blacklist remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, Gaga isn't the only standard bearer for western culture to be accepted in apparently more liberal moves by the Chinese.

Gay icon Ellen DeGeneres is the first American to have her talk show acquired by a Chinese broadcaster.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been bought by Sohu, an online broadcaster, which is the Chinese equivalent of the American online giants Netflix and Hulu, according to Warner Bros.

Warner Bros Worldwide Television Distribution president Jeffrey Schlesinger said Ellen's strength was her point of difference from the mainstream of "controversial, conflict-oriented talk shows".

"It has become an increasingly positive alternative in daytime featuring the biggest stars from worlds of film, television and music," he said.

The show will be subtitled in Chinese and made available in the world's biggest TV market within 48 hours of airing in the US.

"[It ] is one of the most well-known talk shows in the US and we believe it could also have strong appeal and relevance with the Chinese audience," Sohu's chairman and chief executive Dr Charles Zhang said.

- with Michael Idato

Sydney Morning Herald