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Alicia Keys & Jay-Z’s Tony Awards Performance Was Pre-Taped

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One of the most exciting moments of the 2024 Tony Awards on Sunday night (June 16) was when the cast of Hell’s Kitchen took the stage to perform a medley of songs from the musical, with Alicia Keys on the piano for a crowd-riling performance of her 2009 hit, “Empire State of Mind.”


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Halfway through the performance, Keys steps off the stage and walks out of the theater to join Jay-Z in front of the marble staircase outside of the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center to finish up the track together. “We’re in New York City tonight,” Keys told the crowd as she exited the stage. “Had to do something crazy. It’s my home town!”

While the performance was masterfully edited to make it seem as though Jay-Z’s portion of the performance was live, according to the New York Times, it was actually pre-taped. Billboard has reached out to CBS, which aired the awards show, for more information.

Regardless of Jay-Z’s pre-taped verse, the performance was met with a standing ovation. Hell’s Kitchen, the musical based on Keys’ life and music, was one of the most-nominated productions of this year’s Tony Awards with 13 nods. Of those nominations, the show won two awards, with star Maleah Joi Moon — who plays Ali in the musical — taking home best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical. Additionally, Kecia Lewis, who play’s Ali’s mentor and piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, won best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical.

If you haven’t seen it already, check out Jay-Z and Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” performance at the 2024 Tony Awards below.

Rania Aniftos
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