During the 2020 Super Bowl on February 2, Jay-Z and Beyoncé sparked controversy after they sat while Demi Lovato sang the National Anthem. As it turned out, the couple wasn’t staging a protest — which fans initially believed — but he and his wife were deep in conversation about how “proud” they were of Demi’s comeback to the music scene after having suffered an accidental overdose in July 2018.

On Tuesday, February 4, the rapper addressed the backlash he and his wife received for sitting down during the performance and explained that they were in “artist mode.” Jay-Z — who acts as the live music entertainment strategist for the NFL — said that they were focused on the technical aspects of the show and the artists themselves.

“I’m really just looking at the show. Did the mic start? Was it too low to start? I had to explain to them [that] as an artist, if you don’t feel the music, you can’t really reach that level,” he said. “So the whole time we’re sitting there, we’re talking about the performance.”

He continued, “And then right after that, Demi comes out, and we’re talking about how beautiful she looks and how she sounds, and what she’s gone through in her life, for her to be on the stage and we’re so proud of her. It just happened. I didn’t have to make a silent protest.”

Jay-Z and Beyoncé weren’t the only celebrities who praised Demi’s National Anthem performance. After she took the field in Miami, Florida just before the Kansas City Chiefs played the San Francisco 49ers, stars like Vanessa Hudgens, Ryan Seacrest, Niall Horan and Ashley Argota congratulated the “Anyone” singer on a job well done.

“OMG Demi Lovato killed that,” Ashley wrote on Twitter. Ryan added, “Crushed. It,” and tagged the popstar.

Demi’s longtime friend Niall said she “nailed” the performance and Vanessa posted a video of her singing to her Instagram Stories and wrote, “Sing girl.”

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