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Did the NFL Write Alicia Keys’s Voice Crack Out of Super Bowl History?

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Alicia Keys performing at the Super Bowl.
Photo: Michael Owens/Getty Images

The NFL is gaslighting us, your honor. At the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show on February 11, Alicia Keys delighted with a guest spot during Usher’s headlining performance, with a rendition of one of her defining top-ten hits, 2003’s “If I Ain’t Got You.” Keys, a natural alto who often insists on singing soprano, lurched into the song with an unfortunate first note. The vocal stumble, nay voice crack, was heard around the internet, much to the displeasure of those who are frequent critics of Keys’s live singing. An off-Key moment like this happens to some of the best, but this time it can be clearly heard in clips posted online after the fact. Except one video seems to insist that the flub never happened in the first place. In the official halftime show video posted on NFL’s YouTube channel, Keys’s intro appears to be pitch-corrected, with no evidence of the voice crack happening in any universe, let alone onstage during the big celebration of marketing 100 million Americans and Taylor Swift coming together for some football. Nothing like a little postproduction damage control that calls attention to the moment instead of diverting it. Check out the two versions of the performance below.

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