It was the longest performance of the National Anthem in Super Bowl history. It was also one of the best.
Seated at an upright piano, Alicia Keys belted out a soulful version of “The Star Spangled Banner” last night, stretching her performance to a record-breaking 156 seconds. Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson have all tackled the job in recent years, but Keys’ Super Bowl performance was something special: restrained at points, powerful at others, with bluesy flourishes instead of showy vocal acrobatics. She added a coda at the very end, and — surprise surprise — she actually sang live, something that many vocalists (including Hudson and Whitney Houston) refused to do during their own Super Bowl appearances.
Watch the video here.