By Jim Johnson

Beyonce has given the world her word that she’ll “absolutely” be singing live when she takes the stage Sunday at halftime of Super Bowl 47 — and sang the national anthem live at a press conference called to make that announcement.

Bey admitted she did, in fact lip-synch the song at President Obama’s inauguration two weeks ago. She defended the action, calling herself “a perfectionist” and saying “I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra. It was a live television show… Due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper sound check… I did not feel comfortable singing live.”

Then she asked the assembled press to stand and proved she could indeed sing the anthem without any accompaniment. At the end, she asked if there were any questions, and had a good laugh about it.

No word on whether Alicia Keys will be lip-syncing this years National Anthem before the game.

Did you realize the Super Bowl halftime show wasn’t always a showcase for the hottest names in rock, country and R&B? College marching bands and Up with People were frequent choices during the first two decades of pro football’s biggest game.

Chubby Checker was the first rock-era artist to be part of the halftime show — and that was in 1988 at Super Bowl 22 in San Diego. In 1992 (Super Bowl 26), Gloria Estefan shared the show with Olympic figure skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill.

The halfime show wasn’t elevated to the spectacle we know now it as until the following year. 1993 was the game-changer when Michael Jackson gave his electric performance of “Jam,” “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” “We Are the World” joined by a children’s choir, and “Heal the World.”

Since then, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi), James Brown, ZZ Top, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, U2 and Sting have performed at halftime and made the segment a must-see. The 2003 Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” led the NFL to swing back toward veteran performers in the last decade. But they were all A-listers or better: Paul McCartney, Prince, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. The Black Eyed Peas and Madonna have held court the last two years.

Here in Detroit February 5, 2006, at Ford Field, The Rolling Stones were the stars of halftime during Super Bowl XL


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