With all the talk of public performances of “The Star Spangled Banner” lately, one would expect Alicia Keys to be a little nervous about performing the song–and an updated version of it, at that–at the Super Bowl.
“I’m really excited about it, I can’t even lie,” Keys said last week. “I have to rehearse it totally, as if it’s a brand-new song, because it is actually a brand new song in the style that I’ll deliver it. I’m actually rehearsing it like a maniac.”
Keys wowed the audience with a somewhat slowed-down version of the Anthem on piano; the rendition was highlighted with photos and video footage of soldiers serving time overseas, which got massive applause. And while the crowd appreciated the performance, Twitter seemed torn.
@aliciakeys Don’t worry about what people say!! You did an awesome job on the National Anthem…I loved the slow, smooth version!!!
— Jeremy Lawrence (@georgiaboy27) February 4, 2013
I didn’t think it was possible for a performance of the National Anthem to be longer than ours for basketball. Alicia Keys proved me wrong.
— Julie Cheney (@julieecheney) February 4, 2013
BREAKING: (7:14am MST) Alicia Keys now finished singing her rendition of the national anthem
— GR Hutson (@jess_reign_bass) February 4, 2013
WOW! @aliciakeys put her heart in that performance of the National anthem! (WATCH) bit.ly/UQjhlI
— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) February 4, 2013
By the way, did y’all catch @aliciakeys?! National Anthem was amazing. She really nailed it! #inspired
— Coco Jones (@TheRealCocoJ) February 4, 2013
Hard to believe I was 8 years old when Alicia Keys started that national anthem
— Jeffrey Hadz (@Hadzilla) February 3, 2013
Obviously, most of the complaints have to do with the length of the song, but that probably has more to do with the fact that the Super Bowl was agonizingly close to starting, and fans didn’t want to sit through too many more performances (Keys’ set came after Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook Elementary chorus taking on a sweet and heart-breaking rendition of “America The Beautiful”). Check out the performance below.