Usher’s Super Bowl halftime performance earned gold stars for the R&B star’s suave — and seemingly tireless — delivery of his classic hits. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of the negative reviews of the show were directed at one of its special guests, Alicia Keys, who performed her 2003 hit, “If I Ain’t Got You.”
Standing out in a shimmering red ensemble that flowed into an elongated cape, Keys began her performance by launching into a high soprano that briefly transitioned into a croak as the cape fell. Excerpts of the botched note spread like wildfire across the internet as critics flocked to dissect it while fans rushed to its defense.
Subsequently, the NFL and Apple Music removed the clam from the Halftime show re-uploaded to YouTube, and the difference in Keys’ voice is uncanny. Online, users highlighted the careful editing with play-by-play comparisons of the live recording and the freshly re-uploaded and corrected broadcast.
Variety contacted representatives for Keys and Apple Music for clarification.
Meanwhile, Keys’ husband, veteran music producer Swizz Beatz, came to his wife’s defense on Monday with an Instagram post writing, “Y’all talk about bad things!!! »
“You don’t see this great dress covering the whole stadium,” he said. “Tonight’s performance was simply incredible with 2 incredible giants! Congratulations @usher and my love @aliciakeys, this song is a classic. We are not making negative waves on this side, we are making history.
Keys also joined Usher for a performance of their 2004 single “My Boo,” as the duo embraced to wrap up Keys’ guest spot. As Usher grew closer behind Keys, the two singers were also criticized online for their closeness, as both singers have been in long-term relationships. Yet it was Keys’ vocal connection that got all the negative attention.
Before the halftime show, viewers weren’t sure what Usher was going to deliver on the big night. Following Rihanna’s 2023 performance, Usher also paid homage to his rich catalog, touting hits like “Daddy’s Home,” “Yeah!” and more. Besides Keys, Usher has also hosted Lil Jon, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, H.E.R. and will.i.am.
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