Alicia Keys' Vocal Crack at the Super Bowl Has Been Edited Out in Playback

Some fans appreciated that Alicia Keys' voice cracked at the Super Bowl, in part because it meant that she was really singing live.


Feb. 14 2024, Published 9:43 a.m. ET

Alicia Keys playing the piano at the Super Bowl.
Source: Getty Images

If you've ever attempted to sing live, you know that even great singers can have trouble being perfect. Thanks to her decades of success, it's impossible to deny that Alicia Keys is a wildly successful singer, and her guest spot at Usher's Super Bowl LVIII halftime show only reaffirmed that fact.

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Following the performance on Feb. 11, 2024, though, some people decided to rewatch the halftime show on YouTube. When they watched that re-recorded version, they noticed that there was something a little different about Alicia's voice than what they experienced live.

Alicia Keys and Usher together at the Super Bowl.
Source: Getty Images
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What happened to Alicia Keys' voice?

When Alicia started performing "If I Ain't Got You" live during the Super Bowl, many who were listening carefully may have noticed that her voice cracked as she was singing the first word of the chorus. Alicia was a consummate professional and the crack didn't stop her from delivering a close to flawless performance the rest of the way. One of the perils of live performances is that your voice may crack, especially when you're on a stage as massive as the Super Bowl.

If you didn't catch the halftime show live, though, and you wanted to rewatch it after the fact, you'd be forgiven for being unaware that Alicia's voice had cracked at all. It turns out that Apple or the NFL edited the performance afterward to make the first note completely crackless. This means that the official recording has been edited to eliminate the crack, even though more than 100 million people watched the event and likely remember it.

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Given the massive audience that the Super Bowl always draws live, it's a little remarkable to consider the brazenness of the edit. It makes sense that they'd want to make sure that the performance seemed as smooth as possible after the fact. Still, Alicia has always been all about authenticity, and there's nothing more authentic than admitting that even great singers aren't always perfect.

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Alicia was part of a well-reviewed halftime show.

If anything, Alicia's vocal crack was all the proof viewers needed that all the singing was actually happening live. She was one part of a sprawling halftime show that also included guest appearances by H.E.R., Ludacris, Lil Jon, and others, and ran through many of Usher's greatest hits from the course of his career.

The show was incredibly well regarded, even if it wasn't perfect from front to back.

In discussing the show, some people commented specifically on Alicia's vocal crack, saying that they actually appreciated it.

"I like that it cracked, showed that she’s actually singing and it happens sometimes. Alicia Keys is incredible," one person wrote in a comment under a TikTok about the vocal cracks.

"I loved that. Even that simple voice crack, it showed me that they decided to take the risk of singing live and that deserves respect," another person added.

Although there were some who made fun of Alicia for the edit, it's unclear whether she requested the fix or whether Apple or the NFL did it all by themselves.

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