Beyonce brings electricity at Super Bowl halftime

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Lights out? Blame Beyonce's electrifying performance.

If naysayers still doubted Beyonce's

singing's talents — even after her national anthem performance this week

at a press conference

— the singer proved she is an exceptional performer at the Super

Bowl halftime show.

Beyonce opened and closed the performance

belting songs, and in between she danced hard and heavy — and better

than most contemporary

pop stars.

She set a serious tone as she emerged

onstage in all black, singing lines from her R&B hit "Love on Top."

The stage was dark

as fire and lights burst from the sides. Then she went into her

hit "Crazy In Love," bringing some feminine spirit to the

Super Dome as she and her background dancers did the singer's

signature booty-shaking dance. Beyonce ripped off part of her

shirt and skirt. She even blew a kiss. She was ready to rock, and

she did so like a pro.

Her confidence — and voice — grew as she

worked the stage with and without her Destiny's Child band mates during

her 13-minute

set, which comes days after she admitted she sang to a

pre-recorded track at President Barack Obama's inauguration less than

two weeks ago.

Beyonce proved not only that she can sing, but that she can also entertain on a stage as big as the Super Bowl's. She was

far better than Madonna, who sang to a backing track last year, and miles ahead of the Black Eyed Peas' disastrous set in

2011.

Beyonce was best when she finished her set with "Halo." She asked the crowd to put their hands toward her as she sang the

slow groove on bended knee — and that's when she the performance hit its high note.

"Thank you for this moment," she told the crowd. "God bless y'all."

Her background singers helped out as Beyonce

danced around the stage throughout most of her performance. There was a

backing

track to help fill in when Beyonce wasn't singing — and there were

long stretches when she let it play as she performed elaborate

dance moves.

She had a swarm of background dancers and

band members spread throughout the stage, along with videotaped images

of herself

dancing that may have unintentionally played on the live-or-taped

question. And the crowd got bigger when she was joined by

her Destiny's Child band mates.

Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams popped

up from below the stage to sing "Bootylicious." They were in similar

outfits, singing

and dancing closely as they harmonized. But Rowland and Williams

were barely heard when the group sang "Independent Woman,"

as their voices faded into the background.

They also joined in for some of "Single

Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," where Beyonce's voice grew stronger. That

song featured

Beyonce's skilled choreography, as did "End of Time" and "Baby

Boy," which featured Beyonce's all-female band, balancing out

the testosterone levels on the football field.

Before the game, Alicia Keys performed a

lounge-y, piano-tinged version of the national anthem that her publicist

assured

was live. The Grammy-winning singer played the piano as she sang

"The Star Spangled Banner" in a long red dress with her eyes

shut.

She followed Jennifer Hudson, who sang "America the Beautiful" with the 26-member Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus, an

emotional performance that had some players on the sideline on the verge of tears.

The students wore green ribbons on their shirts in honor of the 20 first-graders and six adults who were killed in a Dec.

14 shooting rampage at the school in Newton, Conn.

The students began the song softly before

Hudson, whose mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew were shot to death

five years

ago, jumped in with her gospel-flavored vocals. She stood still in

black and white as the students moved to the left and right,

singing background.