Performing the National Anthem at a major arena or outdoor event has never been a cushy job, but it’s possibly even less so in the wake of Beyoncé’s LipsyncGate at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Indeed, the scrutiny and criticism heaped on the Lady Knowles over the last week had to have put an added degree of pressure on Alicia Keys as she took the mic and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” just before Super Bowl XLVII.
Turns out the “Girl on Fire” singer had nothing to worry about. Keys proved a rock-solid choice to perform the National Anthem to kick off the San Francisco 49ers-Baltimore Ravens showdown.
Keys, decked out in a sleeveless burgundy gown, looked relaxed and confident as she as she began her performance seated at a white piano, and for the most part, her vocals did not fail her on this occasion. She delivered the song in subdued, slowed-down fashion — with an unexpected rawness — her work at the keyboard (and a wobbly note or two toward the end) perhaps a way to underscore the message that this was 100 percent live, with no backing track.
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