Usher‘s Super Bowl Halftime performance earned gold stars for the R&B star’s suave — and seemingly breathless — delivery of his classic hits. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of the negative criticism of the show has been pointed at one of his special guests, Alicia Keys, who delivered a rendition of her 2003 hit, “If I Ain’t Got You.”
Standing out in a glimmering red ensemble that ruffled out into an elongated cape, Keys began her performance by launching into a high soprano that instantly morphed into a vocal croak. Clips of the botched note spread like wildfire across the internet as critics flocked to dissect it while fans of Keys ran to her defense.
In the aftermath, the NFL and Apple Music have edited the squawk out of the re-uploaded Halftime show on YouTube and the difference in Keys’ vocals is uncanny. Online, users have pointed out the polished editing with play-by-play comparisons of the live taping and the freshly re-uploaded, and pitch-corrected, show.
Variety has reached out to representatives for Keys and Apple Music for further clarification.
Meanwhile, Keys’ husband, Swizz Beatz, also an acclaimed record producer, came to his wife’s defense on Monday with an Instagram post writing, “Y’all talking about the wrong damn thing !!!”
“Y’all don’t see that amazing dress covering the entire stadium,” he said. “Tonight’s performance was nothing but amazing with 2 amazing Giants ! Congrats @usher and my love @aliciakeys that song is a classic. We don’t do negative vibes on this side we make history.”