Alicia Keys, Jay-Z Fooled Some in Tonys Audience

Duet was taped and made to appear the duet was live
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2024 7:20 PM CDT
Alicia Keys, Jay-Z Fooled Some in Tonys Audience
Alicia Keys performs with members of the company of "Hell's Kitchen" during the 77th Tony Awards on Sunday in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Not only were TV viewers fooled, many people in the audience thought they were seeing a crowd-pleasing moment in Sunday night's Tony Awards live. But it was the kind of trickery more common in films than the theater, the AP reports. While Alicia Keys performed a medley from her musical Hell's Kitchen, she walked out of the Lincoln Center theater in New York, telling the audience, "Had to do something crazy—it's my hometown!"
An onstage video screen then showed Jay-Z doing "Empire State of Mind" on the marble stairs outside the auditorium. Keys appeared to join him, wearing the same clothes she was just wearing onstage, for a duet.

The duet of their 2009 song was pretaped and smoothly edited to make it appear that the recorded performance was part of the live show, per the New York Times. Although some in the audience thought he was there, Jay-Z was never seen entering the theater, and no photos have surfaced showing the two together. "Brooklyn, New York City in the Tonys tonight!" the taped Jay-Z closed with, drawing audience enthusiasm. A Tony-winning projection designer said that while people sitting around her seemed unclear about whether it was live or not, she was sure. "I was not fooled," Wendall K. Harrington said. "I'm in the projection business." (More Tony Awards stories.)

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