Gladys Knight opened Super Bowl 53 with her stunning performance of the national anthem on Sunday.
Known as the “Empress of Soul,” the Atlanta native and seven-time Grammy winner hit every note of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Before Knight entered the stadium, thousands of people made proposition bets on how long it would take the singer to get through the national anthem. The over-under was set at 110 seconds by Bovada, an online gambling site. Knight’s performance was close, lasting around 113 seconds.
Knight faced criticism for agreeing to sing the national anthem, and she told NBC’s “Today” show that she wrestled with whether to boycott the game over the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback who protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
But she said she hoped her performance will bring people together.
“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” Knight said in a statement. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”