Alicia Keys is getting glowing reviews for her rendition of the national anthem at this weekend's Super Bowl. However, she is also getting criticized for not standing during the performance, during which she was seated behind a grand piano. Some have assumed this is why the NFL is blocking the video of Alicia singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"It was disrespectful," one morning show producer told The Huffington Post. "They had enough time and manpower to think of this before the performance. They could have had her stand at her piano keyboard and sing. To me and a lot of my friends, she sounded great but the visual was wrong."
Alicia isn't the first person to appear on live TV and be criticized for not standing during the song. In September 2012, Wolf Blitzer and Piers Morgan both remained seated for at least half of the national anthem at the Republican National Convention, which resulted in CNN issuing the following statement: "CNN's anchors stood during the national anthem as soon as their cables were disconnected and they were able to do so."
"Alicia is a proud American and was honored to perform at the event," says a publicist who has worked with Keys. "Her slow version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' was her own arrangement, accompanying herself on the piano, adding 'living in the home of the brave' at the end of the song. It's silly to see how that was being disrespectful."
However, the NFL says the performance has been removed on copyright grounds. "The Star-Spangled Banner" is in the public domain, as it was written before copyright laws existed. However, artists can copyright their own arrangements of it. Whitney Houston did just that in 1991 after she performed a pre-recorded version of the song in the Super Bowl that year.
This has "nothing to do with the content of the performance but a rights issue," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who added that NFL.com plans to post the video shortly.
Because the first thing I expect of a well-known pianist is to perform while standing.