Gladys Knight brought down the house ― well, stadium ― on Sunday night.
The Empress of Soul kicked off Super Bowl LIII with a powerful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, just before the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams faced off.
Knight looked stunning in a bejeweled white dress with three-quarter-length sleeves, a sparky tiara with matching diamond jewels and glittering booties.
People on Twitter loved Knight’s stirring performance.
“Gladys Knight rocked the National Anthem with style and grace,” retired NFL coach Tony Dungy tweeted. “An awesome way to start the game!”
Knight, who is from Atlanta, defended her decision to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in a statement to Variety earlier this month. Many performers reportedly turned down offers to sing at the game to show support for Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player who began kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality.
“I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life,” Knight said.
“From walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII,” she added.