"Would you guys mind standing?"
Beyonce stepped onto the stage as an American flag graphic waved on the stage-sized screen behind her. She launched into a flawless, a capella rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," ending with, "Any questions?"
That pretty much evaporated any redundant questions about her performance at President Barack Obama's inauguration, during which she performed with a pre-recorded track to the national anthem. That reveal shocked the press, or those who doubted her talent — which Beyonce Bureau Chief Lauren LaBorde or myself would be happy to remind you is limitless.
She'll perform this Sunday during the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, easily the most-watched non-sports entertainment event every year, when more than 111 million people will tune in for the multi-million dollar, excruciatingly choreographed concert. Her first question of the day, though, went back to her presidential performance.
"I am a perfectionist," she said. "I practice until my feet bleed." It's not that she couldn't perform to her standard at the inauguration, she just didn't want to risk it, having not rehearsed with the band and fearing weather or other delays. "It was about the president, and the inauguration, and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along to my pre-recorded track — which is very common in the music industry, and I'm very proud of my performance."
Beyonce also clarified that she will "absolutely be singing live" at the Super Bowl. "This is what I was born to do," she said — she also didn't dispel rumors of a Destiny's Child reunion. Her former group just released Love Songs, along with a new single, "Nuclear." When asked whether bandmates Kelly Rowland or Michelle Williams (or Beyonce's husband Jay-Z) would make an appearance, she said "I don't know" with a big grin.
The half-time show itself will feature "the first ever crowd-sourced video introduction," using more than 100,000 fan-submitted photos. More than 500 volunteers and countless workers constructed the set inside the Superdome. "When I was driving up and saw the Superdome I got chills," Beyonce said. "My family is from New Iberia, so it really makes me emotional to have a half-time performance — I think of all my heroes. ... When I got into the Superdome, I took my shoes off and planted my feet into the ground, and I just ran."
At the Super Bowl pre-game show, Jennifer Hudson will perform "America The beautiful" with 26 students from the Sandy Hook Elementary Choir from Newtown, Conn., and Alicia Keys will sing the national anthem before kickoff.
To those doubting Beyonce's ability to carry the massive performance, she said, "I love haters. No hate."