First, let’s say this: Two minutes and 12 seconds is a long national anthem.
Last year, we did our best to provide an in-depth analysis of Kelly Clarkson’s Super Bowl XLVI national anthem, which had an over/under of 1:34 and ended up finishing right on the number.
This year, it’s much more difficult.
Clarkson had eight YouTube videos of previous national anthems to dissect, while Keys has … zero. She’s never sung the national anthem in a public setting, and she’s promised to do it her way in Super Bowl XLVII.
“It’s a historical moment, that day, so I’m looking forward to really doing it my style and my way,” Keys told MTV News. “I’m looking forward to really making it great.”
Furthermore, Bovada rep Kevin Bradley said that Keys’ admission bumped the over/under up. Way up.
“Whenever a singer announces they will do their own rendition of the anthem, it complicates the situation because it usually runs much longer,” said Bradley. “You are never sure what to expect.”
So, we have a notoriously long-winded solo artist vowing that, essentially, she’ll make sure we see our national anthem in a way we’ve never seen it before.
Smells like an ‘over,’ right?
Let’s analyze this as well as we can. Keys has never performed the national anthem, but she did sing “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, and here’s how it broke down.
ALICIA KEYS | “AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL” | 2005
Length of song with music intro: 2 minutes, 54 seconds
Length of song without music intro: 2 minutes, 32 seconds*
*Includes an 8-second-long second half of the word “shining” at the 2:20 mark.
Now, let’s compare that to Kelly Clarkson’s “America the Beautiful” performance in New York City in 2003. (Clarkson sang the little-used first verse, so we’ve eliminated that from the time.)
[Embedding the video was unfortunately disabled by the YouTube user.]
KELLY CLARKSON | “AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL” | 2003
Length of song with music intro: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
Length of song without music intro: 1 minute, 52 seconds
Given that Keys’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” was roughly 40 seconds longer than Clarkson’s, we can reasonably expect that she’s more than capable of stretching this puppy out as long as it can possibly go.
With the knowledge that Keys plans to do the national anthem her own way, there might actually be some “value” betting the over.
But this could be a far more intriguing bet.