Pop star Beyoncé caused a bit of a stir when she was alleged to have lip synched ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ at the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies on Monday, January 21. Just 13 days later, she found herself on one of the world’s biggest stages at the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show, making a resonating statement in favor of her incredible talents.
The Thursday before the big show, Beyoncé opened a pre-Super Bowl press conference by belting out the anthem with both finesse and emotion to hush her critics. She addressed the controversial inauguration performance, noting that she only utilized a backing track, a very common practice for high profile musicians at special events, in order to ensure a great performance under ‘difficult conditions.’
Then, on Sunday, during halftime of an exciting Super Bowl matchup between the 49ers and Ravens, Beyoncé put on a show to be remembered, singing and dancing with an incredible energy that clearly demanded a special talent. Without resorting to any tricks or shortcuts, her vocal performance was an absolute stunner. There may not have been as many surprises or twists as some other recent halftime productions, but simply put, she dazzled.
In the digital age, the rules and definitions of celebrity and stardom have certainly changed a bit. With so many more media channels available to us than 20, 30, or 50 years ago, it does not necessarily take as extraordinary a talent to rise to fame. On the other hand, the figures who reach the very top are even more prolific than their predecessors. Our expectations of a star, or someone who is at the forefront of any discipline, for that matter, are that we will witness flawless performances each and every time.
Just two Super Bowls ago, Christina Aguilera famously botched the lyrics of the national anthem singing live before an audience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. On the biggest stage possible, it seemed like a disaster for the diva. One might think such a nightmare would wreak havoc on her career, but instead, she chose to admit her faults openly, and was highly praised for her authenticity and honesty in performing with no safety net. With so many stars turning to pre-recorded tracks to avoid such mistakes, Aguilera showed that she was dedicated to giving the people her best, whether or not it was absolutely perfect. It turns out the latter practice is far more valuable to fans than the former.
With her genuine performance at halftime on Sunday, Beyoncé has now righted any wrongs and reaffirmed her status in the upper echelon of our celebrity culture. Leaders in other fields, like business or politics, should take away a fresh understanding of the value of taking risks, making mistakes, and avoiding the ‘safe play’ in order to truly shine.