For the last fortnight, there’s not been much in the news apart from Beyoncé. During this time, Beyoncé has been involved in the release of Destiny’s Child’s first new music in over 8 years, but has also become entangled in worldwide controversy. Beginning with a performance of the national anthem at Barack Obama’s second inauguration, it was, “Oh wow, Beyoncé is amazing!” But it wasn’t long before rumours started to surface of backing tracks and lip-synching. Sound engineers assessed the performance to satisfy whether she had sung live or not but to no conclusive result. Finally at a press conference on Thursday, Beyoncé admitted that she did indeed sing to a pre-recorded track, but then once again performed a phenomenal rendition of the national anthem, this time completely live for the world press to hear. Fast forward 3 days, and it’s time for Beyoncé to silence her critics.
The Superbowl is the biggest event in the US sport calendar and is famed for it’s huge half-time performances, last year with Madonna, and in 2011 with The Black Eyed Peas. 2012’s game was watched by over 160 million people worldwide, and this year the performances were a female affair. Before the game began, the huge crowds in the Superdome in New Orleans were treated to an emotional performance of the patriotic ‘America the Beautiful’ by Jennifer Hudson, accompanied by the choir from Sandy Hook Elementary – the school devastated by a shooting which killed 27 people in December. Soon after, Alicia Keys sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ on a chrome grand piano in the centre of the pitch, surrounded by NFL players weeping; an improvement on Christina Aguilera’s attempt last year where she managed to forget the lyrics. It was a performance to challenge even Beyoncé’s, but it is her who everyone is really eager to see.
An hour and a half of baffling american football later, it was time for the performance everyone had been waiting for. Two illuminated facial structures filled with people were shown from above before the camera panned down to reveal Beyoncé as she sang the chorus of her 2011 hit ‘Love On Top’ a capella, then breaking into her first huge solo single ‘Crazy In Love’ from 2003, which disappointingly lacked any live appearance from husband Jay-Z. However, her dancing was more than enough to make up for this loss, especially so with the all-female band which accompanied her as she moved into ‘End Of Time’ and ‘Baby Boy’. As always at the Superbowl, the staging was incredibly impressive, with immense screens underneath and behind the singer creating kaleidoscope effects and giving the illusion that Beyoncé was on stage in multiple places.
Then suddenly it happened; “Kelly, can you handle this? Michelle, can you handle this? Beyoncé, can you handle this?!” Destiny’s Child are back and this was the best possible way to return in style. The leather-clad trio sang hits including ‘Bootylicious’ and ‘Tell Me,’ then launching into one of Beyoncé’s biggest selling tracks, ‘Single Ladies’. It was great to see the band back together but this really highlighted who the most talented member of the band is. Whilst Kelly and Michelle looked the part, they were clearly miming and their dance skills were no where near as sharp as Beyoncé’s.
To end, it was time to slow it down. Standing solo on the stage in the centre of the pitch, surrounded by screaming fans whilst a gleaming ring of light hovered in the sky, she belted out ‘Halo’ as if her life depended on it. It was the perfect ending track to what will be one of the most memorable half-time performances ever to have happened. Bravo Beyoncé, you’ve shown that you’re truly one of the world’s greatest performers.