John Legend kicked off the festivities with the National Anthem, while Ne-Yo performed before each team’s introduction. He warmed up the crowd for the introduction of NBA All-Stars with his hits, including “Let Me Love You” and the upbeat Calvin Harris-produced “Let’s Go.”
Alicia Keys stepped out from behind her piano to kick steps along with her dancers for the half-time show. She opened her set at Houston’s Toyota Center with “Empire State” and spun into “Girl On Fire.”
But the night of live performances was most notable for the criticism that surrounded the sound. Ne-Yo was dogged by audio problems and called out by viewers on Twitter for his vocal performance. He responded in kind.
“Shout out to those showing love,” Ne-Yo tweeted. “Everybody has an off day….all good. F–k any and all haters. Talk it while I live it b—-es!!!”
During Keys’ performance, Questlove of the Roots added a punctuation to the evening’s sound difficulties.
“Let this be a lesson folks, how the music is engineered effects how you perceive the artist singing,” he Tweeted. “So now Lica gotta go through a barrage of jeers on twitter cause THE MIX IS HORRID! I want union rules for tv to change so that contemporary engineers with some sort of hip-hop aesthetic is doing the mixing.”
While Alicia Keys’ set was roundly criticized for her vocal performance, she didn’t address any shortcomings. She decided to tune out the chatter.
“I was so excited to hit the stage tonight!!” she tweeted. “Thanks for showing your love and support!”
–Erik Parker, CBS Local