With nary a singing, dancing, rapping dude in sight all night, ladies ruled the entertainment portion of Super Bowl XLVII in big-voiced, all-pro fashion, with Beyonce and her Mad Maxine outfit leading the way with a robust, seemingly lip-sync-free halftime show.
Dancing on a stage that was framed by glowing silhouettes of her face (a few hundred onfield fans were lucky enough to dance in her nose — sweet!), the 31-year-old R&B superhero opened with the hip-shaking grind of Crazy in Love, which normally features a rap by her hubby, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter.
But nope, not tonight, not at this Big Game. Sunday was a girls-only affair. Backed by dozens of female dancers, most of whom were showing as much thigh and cleavage as the star, Beyonce snuck in a snippet of nonhit End of Time before doing the naughty smash Baby Boy, which was apparently hot enough to zap the electricity in the New Orleans Superdome.
And then, in a not-so-surprising surprise, Beyonce's old pals in Destiny's Child — Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — popped up from below the stage to join her on the trio's Bootylicious and the slightly ripe Independent Women Part 1. (Seriously? A Charlie's Angels pose? Kinda lame.) Miss B then finished up with a fun-enough Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) and the rather buzzkilly Halo.
By the way, President Barack Obama might have heard a prerecorded Beyonce at his recent inauguration, but it sure sounded as if the Big Easy got the real deal. Sure, there were no wardrobe malfunctions or profane slipups, but the star was professional and happy to be there, and there's nothing wrong with a good, earnest performance.
• So who had Alicia Keys and the over? The 14-time Grammy-nominated singer performed the national anthem in about two minutes, 41 seconds, which is a new record for pop patriotism at the Super Bowl. Hooray! Packed into a gorgeous red dress, Keys sat behind a white baby grand and delivered a somber, slightly jazzy version. Not the best of all time, but still pretty darn good.
• With the absolutely adorable Sandy Hook Elementary School Chorus behind her, Jennifer Hudson, who has a big voice in a now perilously petite frame, performed America the Beautiful. That sound you heard after was thousands of manly men sobbing into the bean dip. What a nice, unexpected moment.