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Queen Latifah, Renee Fleming nail it at Super Bowl

Associated Press Updated: February 2, 2014 at 5:38 pm 0

Anyone tuning in early to the Super Bowl with thumbs at the ready to tweet about musical hijinks in the run up to the game was shut down by Queen Latifah, Renee Fleming and scores of choral singers.

The NFL ensured there would be no mistakes during its pregame entertainment segments long ago when they chose rapper and singer Queen Latifah and the opera star Fleming to handle "America the Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." Both women are accomplished performers and handled the pitfall-ridden material with relative ease in stirring performances that brought cheers from the crowd.

"Have you ever heard it sung any better," play by play announcer Joe Buck said as fans cheered wildly after Fleming's 2-minute rendition of the national anthem.

Her performance included the Armed Forces Chorus, video shots of soldiers in Afghanistan, fireworks, a giant American flag and several shots of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning scowling, already in game-face mode.

Fans cheered wildly after the soprano, dressed in a Vera Wang-designed black gown with white sash, hit a long final high note with practiced ease.

Latifah, dressed sedately in a knee-length blue parka and a white turtleneck, shared her performance equally with the New Jersey Youth Chorus, often swirling her voice together with the singers rather than taking a more forceful lead role. The effect was lovely.

She finished her performance with a small fist pump.

After walking off the field, Fleming said she hadn't felt nervous. "I do most of my nervous stuff in advance so when I actually get there I can enjoy it ... and it was certainly true this time," she said. "I feel so thrilled and honored to be out there. I loved every second."

She said she made sure to stay "super-focused," adding, "When it was over it was so exciting!"

"I will enjoy this game more than any game in my life," she said.

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Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott .

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AP Entertainment Editor Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report from East Rutherford, N.J.

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