Having a backup track to sing to may also have been a comfort to Hudson, who was giving her first public performance since the October murders of three of her family members. Appearing trimmer in slim, black pants, a flowing white top and cropped jacket, Hudson took a deep breath before launching into the anthem.
"This was such an important performance, because it's the first time everyone has seen Jennifer," Minor, the pregame show producer, told AP. "But she's in such a great place, with such great spirits and time can heal her wounds. She's on fire right now and totally grounded."
While Hudson's performance has been widely praised, some people commenting on MTV's message boards were disappointed to discover it had been lip-synced.
"I don't think people are really upset about the lip-syncing; they are upset about being fooled," Levine said. "You feel like the joke is on you. And no one likes to have the joke on them."
Levine believes producers of live events ought to offer audiences a disclaimer, such as "portions of this program have been prerecorded."
There were similar rumblings last month after the revelation that the classical quartet led by Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman played along to an earlier recording of the piece for President Obama's inauguration.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Perlman's rep defended the musicians' decision to rely on the recording.
"Mr. Perlman was deeply honored to be a part of the inauguration ceremony," his rep wrote. "The brutal cold created the distinct possibility of broken or out of tune instruments and, in order to avoid a weather-related issue detracting from the majesty of the day, a decision was reached to play along to the recording that the quartet had made earlier in the week."
There will be some who still believe live events such as the inauguration and the Super Bowl demand live performances. But as long as there is an increasing expectation for perfection, the prerecorded track and lip-syncing will live on.
Check out some other performances that stirred scandal and the verdict on whether each artist committed what many fans regard as the greatest onstage sin of all: lip-syncing.