Mike Bruno
February 03, 2013 AT 11:36 PM EST

Faced with what has easily become the most controversial song of at least the past two weeks, Alicia Keys followed up Jennifer Hudson’s powerhouse rendition of “America the Beautiful” with a mellow, jazzy “Star Spangled Banner” that got the crowd roaring and Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis frothing before the hyped Super Bowl audience.

Seated at the piano in a sleeveless maroon gown, Keys sounded at times a bit raspy, but overall it was a strong, confident rendition, and one with just enough subtle shakiness to confirm that she was in fact singing it live and not to tape. (Ah, but was she really playing that piano or key syncing?)

Keys’ performance may not get replayed as often as some past Super Bowl anthems, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (just ask Christina Aguilera).


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