Alicia Keys performing at Clive Davis' 2008 Pre-Grammy party

*If you’re not in New Orleans at the Essence Music Festival, and you’re wondering what went down last night on the main stage at the Superdome, we’ve got a snapshot of the evening’s activities from Times-Picayune music critic/reporter Keith Spera:

Alicia Keys is not yet the most pregnant singer to rock a major stage in recent memory. M.I.A. traded lines with an all-star rap pack at the 2009 Grammy Awards on her actual due date.

Keys is only four months or so along in her pregnancy, but she is apparently sensitive about her appearance. Before her Saturday night headlining set at Essence Fest, her representatives forbade professional photographers from shooting her. (The ban had no effect on the dozens of fans snapping photos.)

Share Newsflash, Alicia: We all know you’re pregnant. And you have no reason to be self-conscious, not when you flatter four-inch heels, tight leather pants and a functional yet snazzy black top with green sequins.

Keys returned to the Superdome with a .500 average. She fell flat at Essence in 2002, then redeemed herself in 2005. Early on Saturday, she flirted with a repeat of ’02. That year, she looked as if she expected adoration simply for showing up; her look-at-me dabbling on multiple instruments failed to impress an audience well-schooled in R&B authenticity.

Read Keith Spera’s full report HERE.

Watch Keith Spera’s video report here:

For photos from the Essence Festival, go HERE.