I appreciate what Alicia Keys was trying to do with her interpretation of the Star Spangled Banner during the Super Bowl. She's a Diva who can play an instrument, so why not let that skill get some exposure, too. It turned out to be a smart move in the end, because the truth is, it was the only salvageable component of the whole performance!
I was liking the hoarse, breathy voice that Alicia was rocking for the first few seconds of the national anthem. But anyone who has watched enough live performances by the Diva- as I have- knows, if the bottom is husky, then the top notes are not going to come easy. And this is exactly what transpired: with the belted notes of the climax being forced and unpleasant. Alicia didn't appear to even be supporting her voice properly, so as well as the hollering vocals we had a lot of wavering in pitch going on. And just in case we were having any doubts on how lacking the vocal was, she ended the performance with some of the clunkiest melisma I have ever heard a professional sing!
Vocally, the whole thing was amateurish, at best. Thank God for the piano playing and the arrangement: they made the performance bearable.