She wasn't lip-synching, but Alicia Keys is taking heat for her Super Bowl performance regardless. The multiple Grammy Award-winning singer sat down at a grey piano wearing a sleeveless wine-colored gown and delivered a strong and wistful, if lingering, version of the national anthem at Sunday's Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Keys' powerful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was interspersed with images of American soldiers overseas as the lyrics flashed behind her on the electronic display surrounding the Superdome field.
There was wild cheering from the crowd, but not everyone loved her performance, with some finding it too drawn-out and slow. Wrote one Twitter user, "I had time to eat dinner, pee, solve world hunger & find a cure for cancer in the same amount of time it took alicia keys to sing the anthem."
Nashville sports anchor Steve Layman was one of many referring to Vegas odds on how long Keys' version of the anthem would run. He tweeted, "A 22 second word 'Brave' takes Alicia Keys over the 2:15 (over/under) on length of the anthem."
Whether Keys would perform live became an issue after Beyonce, who on Thursday promised a live halftime performance, lip-synched at President Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 21.
Keys was preceded by Oscar and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson, who in a sharp black-and-white outfit, was joined by the Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus to sing "America the Beautiful."
Hudson and the students wore green ribbons. Green and white are Sandy Hook Elementary's school colors, and the green ribbon has become a symbol of support for the school after the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting there that killed 20 students and 6 staff members.
Both Hudson and the young singers have known tragedy. Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were murdered in 2008 by her sister's estranged husband.
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