If naysayers still doubted Beyonce's singing talents -- even after her national anthem performance this week at a press conference -- the singer proved she is an exceptional performer at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Beyonce opened and closed her set belting songs, and in between she danced hard and heavy -- and better than most contemporary pop stars.
She set a serious tone as she emerged onstage in all black, singing lines from her R&B hit "Love on Top." The stage was dark as fire and lights burst from the sides. Then she went into her hit "Crazy In Love," bringing some feminine spirit to the Superdome as she and her background dancers did the singer's signature booty-shaking dance. Beyonce ripped off part of her shirt and skirt. She even blew a kiss. She was ready to rock, and she did so like a pro.
Her confidence -- and voice -- grew as she worked the stage with and without her Destiny's Child bandmates during her 13-minute set, which comes days after she admitted she sang to a pre-recorded track at President Barack Obama's inauguration less than two weeks ago.
Beyonce proved not only that she can sing, but that she can also entertain on a stage as big as the Super Bowl's. The 31-year-old was far better than Madonna, who sang to a backing track last year, and miles ahead of the Black Eyed Peas' disastrous set in 2011.
Beyonce was best when she finished her set with "Halo." She asked the crowd to put their hands toward her as she sang the slow groove on bended knee.
"Thank you for this moment," she told the crowd. "God bless y'all."
Before the game, Alicia Keys performed a lounge-y, piano-tinged version of the national anthem that her publicist assured was live. The Grammy-winning singer played the piano as she sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in a long red dress with her eyes shut.
She followed Jennifer Hudson, who sang "America the Beautiful" with the 26-member Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus. Hudson also sang live, her publicist said.
The students wore green ribbons on their shirts in honor of the 20 first-graders and six adults who were killed in a Dec. 14 shooting rampage at the school in Newton, Conn.
The students began the song softly before Hudson, whose mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew were shot to death five years ago, jumped in with her gospel-flavored vocals. She stood still in black and white as the students moved to the left and right, singing background.