Co-written and produced by herself and RedOne, the song inspired by her "Fear of Men Monster", the lyrics portray Gaga bidding farewell to her lovers.
Contemporary critics predominantly gave "Alejandro" positive reviews and noted that it takes influence from the pop acts ABBA, Ace of Base and Madonna.
"Alejandro" became Gaga's seventh successive single to reach the top-ten of the US Billboard Hot 100.
The accompanying music video was directed by fashion photographer Steven Klein and inspired by Gaga's love for her gay friends and admiration of gay love.
Critics complimented its idea and dark nature while the Catholic League criticized Gaga for alleged blasphemy, despite Klein dismissing the idea and claiming that the scene in question (the swallowing of Rosary beads) was Gaga's "desire to take in the Holy".
Gaga performed the song on the ninth season of American Idol and has performed it on all dates of The Monster Ball Tour.
The song was also included on her 2012-13 tour The Born This Way Ball, as well as on her 2014 tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball.
Gaga co-wrote and co-produced "Alejandro" with RedOne. It was recorded at FC Walvisch Studios in Amsterdam.
Gaga became the second female artist to have her first seven singles reach top-ten in the United States, since R&B singer Monica did so in 1995-99.
Randall Roberts from Los Angeles Times said "the clip reinforces the notion that no one understands the convergence of image and music right now better than Gaga."
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In the United States, "Alejandro" debuted at number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the issue dated April 17, 2010. It reached number five on the chart, becoming Gaga's seventh consecutive top ten hit in the United States.
Across Europe, the song reached the top five in Austria, the Ultratop charts of Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, while topping the charts in Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia.
The video was also heavily compared to works by 1980s pop artists like Madonna and Janet Jackson.
It was released as the third single from her third extended play (EP) and second major release, The Fame Monster (2009).
James Montgomery from MTV commented that "Gaga has created a world that, while oppressive, also looks great."
Rolling Stone's Daniel Kreps called the video a "cinematic epic."
"Alejandro" was performed on Gaga's Born This Way Ball tour, in 2012-13.
On April 20, 2010, Gaga performed the song at the MAC AIDS Fund Pan-Asia Viva Glam launch in Tokyo where she wore a doily lace dress.
The song is a part of the set-list of Gaga's ongoing concert series, the Joanne World Tour.
Musically, it is a mid-tempo synth-pop song.
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The song charted in the United Kingdom and Hungary due to digital sales following the album's release. Upon release, "Alejandro" charted again in the United Kingdom as well as in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States while topping the Finnish, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian, and Romanian charts.
Billboard described "Alejandro" as a synth-pop song with a "stomping Euro-pop beat".
The song is set in the time signature of common time, with a moderate tempo of 99 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of B minor.
Chris Ryan from MTV described the song as a "lush paean to a love that's 'hot like Mexico'."
Evan Sawdey from PopMatters said that Gaga's vocals sounded like those of Shakira in the song's chorus.
Ben Patashnik from NME called the song light-hearted.
The song won Best Pop Dance Track at the Annual International Dance Music Awards, the major event held during the Winter Music Conference 2011.
Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times called it bubbly and also went to compare with ABBA's style.
Robert Copsey of Digital Spy gave the song five out of five stars and compared it to Madonna's song "La Isla Bonita" and Ace Of Base songs, but felt that Gaga added "her own twist to hers".
Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone called it a "loving ABBA spoof".
The song also debuted on the Mainstream Top 40 chart at number 35, and the Hot Digital Songs chart at number 71, after selling 24,000 paid digital downloads according to Nielsen Soundscan.
"Alejandro" peaked at number four on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, becoming the first single by her not to reach the number one position there.
It also debuted on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart at 40 and reached the top on the issue dated July 7, 2010.
The song has sold 2,570,000 paid digital downloads in the United States as of April 2016, making Gaga the only artist in digital history to amass seven consecutive 2 million sellers as a lead act.
In Canada, "Alejandro" debuted at number 78 on the Canadian Hot 100 issue dated April 4, 2010, and moved to number 50 the next week. The song reached a peak of number four, on the issue dated May 8, 2010.
On April 5, 2010, "Alejandro" debuted at number 49 in Australia on the official ARIA Singles Chart, and moved to number 28 the next week. It ultimately peaked at number two, thus becoming Gaga's seventh top five hit in the country.
"Alejandro" was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 70,000 copies of the single.
The song debuted at number 35 on the New Zealand Top 40 on April 19, 2010. It has peaked at number 11.
"Alejandro" charted on the UK Singles Chart at number 75, on November 29, 2009, due to digital sales. On the May 16, 2010, chart, the song re-entered at number 95 and ultimately peaked at number seven.
According to the Official Charts Company, "Alejandro" has sold a total of 436,000 copies as of February 2014, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
They revealed it as the 37th best-selling vinyl single in the UK for the 2010s decade.
On the Mahasz issue dated December 6, 2009, the song debuted at number five on the Hungarian Singles Chart.
On March 23, 2010, Women's Wear Daily reported that photographer Steven Klein would direct the music video, which Gaga confirmed herself.
The video premiered on Gaga's official website and her YouTube/Vevo account on June 8, 2010, at noon EDT (June 8, 2010, 16:00 UTC).
Amy Odell of New York said the video's outfits were not as "intense" as those of "Bad Romance" or "Telephone."
MTV's Kyle Anderson found references to Madonna's 1996 film Evita and the music videos for her songs "Like a Prayer", "Human Nature" and "Vogue."
Rolling Stone compared the black-and-white cinematography of the video to that of "Vogue," and noticed some "not so subtle" hints toward "Like a Prayer." The magazine believed that the "Alejandro" was so similar to Madonna's work because director Steven Klein had closely worked with Madonna prior to shooting "Alejandro."
The Catholic League criticized the video for its use of religious imagery, accusing Gaga of "playing a Madonna copy-cat".
Many critics agreed that the religious imagery was a calculated move by Gaga to create controversy.
In May 2011, Gaga performed the song during Radio 1's Big Weekend in Carlisle, Cumbria.