Lady Gaga is popular because she reflects a desire that the pop scene has had for a while. Sure, pop music has always been somewhat catchy.. but a lot of people wished it had more depth. Pop had become a symbol of what's wrong with country--any no talent hack that gives the right producer a bj could get a synthesizer and a record deal, and have all sorts of money because of entirely predictable and empty (But fun) music.
Pop culture also had a hand in the cliques of high school. Vapid, horny cheerleaders, trendy boys, and all their ilk had no sympathy or reason to even consider the value of "artists". Wear weird clothes, get made fun or. Cheerleaders had the monopoly on being a slut, but anyone else that did it would catch hell for it. They might as well have built a two-foot thick iron wall between "us" and "them".
Then, there's Lady Gaga. She's a pop star, but she's also an artist (And no, not all gay men know what a real artist or real art is). She's popular, but unpopular. She's a symbol of shallow culture, but she's also a stabbing attack on shallow culture. Whose side is she on, the weirdos or the popular crew? Or is she the only girl with big enough balls to try both at once?
What reasons did we have to like pop stars in the old days--we liked who we were told, we liked who was the hottest, we liked who they played for us on the radio. When you think of how many empty, worthless pop stars we have labelled as "all that", we never questioned it.
See, Britney Spears was an empty figurehead, a dumb blonde who cluelessly went wherever her producers and her industry told her--and yet, people followed her since the 90's. Lady Gaga has been behind the scenes all along, creating music and ideas for other people. Now, she has taken it upon herself to give us something new. It gives pop people some depth, and it makes art freaks mainstream. She's bridging the gap between real art and shallow pop "art".
I dunno, maybe you had to have been a freak in high school to really get behind anything but her catchy tunes. For us, she's like a ray of hope.. hope that pop culture isn't entirely lost, hope that we have as big a chance to become wealthy and popular as all the empty and stupid trendy folks like Britney and JT. Hope that we can be artistic in public and not be ashamed of it.
Anyway, that's why I like Lady Gaga. The best part about her, though, is that she covers so many different niches that there are plenty of other reasons to like her, too.