Aguilera flubs national anthem at Super Bowl
February 6th, 2011
09:31 PM ET

Aguilera flubs national anthem at Super Bowl

O say, can Christina have a do-over?

Christina Aguilera helped kick off Sunday's Super Bowl with a singer's nightmare, flubbing the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" about 40 seconds into the song as tens of millions prepared to watch the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Standing at midfield at Texas' Cowboys Stadium, the singer-actress mixed a previously sung clause with the one she was supposed to be on.

Here's what she sang, with the error in bold:

"O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last [unintelligible].”

That fourth line was supposed to be: "O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming."

In a statement released by her publicist, Aguilera explained what happened:

"I got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place," the singer said. "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."

Aguilera isn't the first person to have trouble with the song, as Time magazine's "Top 10 Worst National-Anthem Renditions" will remind us.

The list includes Michael Bolton's effort at a 2003 playoff baseball game in Boston's Fenway Park, where he had to pause midsong and check some notes before correctly getting through the same line that troubled Aguilera.

Aguilera sang the national anthem twice during last year's NBA finals. She delivered both performances without incident.

- CNN's Denise Quan contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Football • Pro football • Showbiz • Sports
soundoff (2,138 Responses)
  1. butch

    That's what happens when you hire a Mexican to do an American's job.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vera Waitress

    How many people have you performed for? 23? 46? 450 at your god damned high school auditorium? Try 23 million, moron. Shut the ckuf up!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thatguy371

    Guess that's what you end up with when there's some clown on stage. Maybe next year go with someone with actual talent?

    February 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Almas

    National anthem deserve a full respect.Christina Aguilera forgot the lines or she may didn't care at all because she is a big singer.I don't understand why people change the tune when they sing the national anthem.It should always be sing in the original tune to not confuse the younger generation of this nation. Thanks

    February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike in Columbia

    To the people critisizing our national anthem:

    Try finding a video of the rendition done before the SF Giants played the Phillies this past fall – done by some members of the Greatful Dead and another gentleman whose name I can't remember. It brought tears to my eyes, and had my 3 and 6 year olds waving flags. It's a beautiful, powerful and poignant song. She just flubbed it, big time, in all ways.

    Glad the right team won, and the right person lost.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Donovan Sanchez

    Christina Aguilera killed "The Star-Spangled Banner," That was really bad!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kerry thompson

    you should go to youtube vidieos and type in Challis Johnson and click on her singing the national anthem so you can hear how it should be sung, she is awesome. Beats Christina hands down.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      I watched her and still think it's a little too much ooooohhhhoooooohhohohoowhoaaaaawhooaaaaa blah blah.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Why do artists feel the need to try to improve on Francis Scott Key's national anthem. Do other nations allow singers the freedom to change the original arangement to their national anthem?

      February 6, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Youtube Whitney Houstons Superbowl 1991 performance, and THAT is how it should be sung.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      Don't know why people are complaining, I thought Britney Spears did a wonderful job today.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan

      The black eyed pukes stunk up the 1/2 time show; only slash was decent and you could hardly hear him.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • RosaFranklin

      @Mary – Francis Scott Key only wrote the poem that became the National Anthem. The music is actually a British drinking song. Seriously. So teeeechnically, we can't say Christina rearranged his song or anything, because he didn't write the song. 🙂

      February 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      To Mary... In the Philippines there is a $2,000.00 fine for singing the National Anthem off key, or embellishing it. That's in a poor country, so it's a heavy fine, and a serious matter. It should be the same here. Stop trying to make a name for yourself JUST THIS ONCE, OK, and sing it right if given the privilege.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • wing

      Yep – Whitney in 1991 wins. All the frills just make the song sound ghetto...STOP IT! It's a national ANTHEM, not a national booty-call song.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      She should have been fined $2,000.00 like they do in The Philippines for those who deliberately sing it off key or embellish it. In a poor country, that's a big fine, and a serious matter, as it should be here. Sing it right for crying out loud!!

      February 7, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      I do not tune in Christina Aguilera to see if she gets all the lyrics correct. In fact I detest her continuous runs and verbrato but I do love looking at her.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • sf

      @Joe: maybe there is also a fine for playing the national anthem during an football game or between commercials. really, i bet half the people complaining about it being 'unpatriotic' didnt put down their pizza/chips. probably complaining about the singing with your mouth full.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      don't miss the Cactus Cuties. no really. I mean it. When they grow up and can sing beyond the 'improvisational' arrangments, LOOK OUT !

      February 7, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Cliff Vegas

      Imagine what we could accomplish if we converted this kind of time, energy and money into our public schools. Yeah... what a heresy to not like American football. So sue me.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Is she REALLY a citizen of the US? Just saying...

      February 7, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      I know someone who sang the National Anthem at every basketball home game for a major university – literally sang it hundreds of times. One night, he blanked on part of the words and sang, "And the rockets' red glare, and the rockets red glare, and the rockets' red glare that our flag was still there!" He said he could hear folks in the stands stumble a bit, but the main thing is he kept up the rhythm and the melody – and just chalked it up to "one of those things." It happens!

      February 7, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Sadly, all of you US citizens forget what it means to be an American. OUR FREEDOM allows us to be free to make the choices like she might have made. If she made a mistake so what. Everyone Does!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Candy

    Our National Anthem should be sung exactly as written without embellishments or "style". Doing so other than that is a disrespect to our Country. Ms. Aguilara owes the Nation an apology. We turned the channel after a couple of words were out of her mouth. Halftime show was awful too. I left the room and did my laundry. The highlight was that the Green Bay Packers won! Congratulations!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. Yes, let's make the national anthem even more monotonous than it already is. Now, I will say that the singer should definitely get ALL the words right.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • D Green

      It's not "dumb" as Jon says. You're 100% right. The song shouldn't be embelished. She ruined it.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I agree Candy. It's just pathetic when all these "famous" singers want to embellish it to make a name for themselves. If you want to see and hear it sung correctly, and beautifully, just listen to Carrie Underwood singing it, or just google National Anthem sung correctly. You'll see it.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • SteveW

      How is it supposed to be sung? Give us an example of the version you think is correct. Did Francis Scott Key pen just the words or words and music? Like most things it has evolved. It's great a country as diverse as ours has an anthem that can be sung in different styles. That's poweful. Think about it.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • poppa

      I agree completly, It is a disgrace, and shows how much love she has for this country (little). These people who select for the singing need to focus on people with heart: not fame.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Other Dave

      I agree 100%. Sing it as it should be sung. Is anyone really impressed when an 'artist' adds all those stupid 'runs' to any song???

      February 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics. The melody is actually a common old Tavern tune (frequently had bawdy lyrics too).

      February 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Austin3759

      I think Joe Bonnamassa should've done it on a Stratocaster.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan

      The black eyed pukes really stunk.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe D

      Jimi Hendrix disagrees with you. And that's a good thing. Loosen up a little, life is short, have some fun.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • StateMatter

      Sing it how it's written? Ok, Well Francis Scott Key wrote it as a poem not a song. So from here on out, we shall now recite it as a poem instead of a song.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • yah it should'nt be embellished but most of the singers always have their own styles of singing competing for nothing who to be called as the best singer who sings in any of the prestigious competations and mostly of them flactuates and often times forget

      next time singers must be ready to sing the national anthem song..embellishing is a style but make it sure every singer delivered the right word.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      In most cases, the Star Spangled Banner isn't sung as written since there are actually four verses to it... so you must flip the channel away from the National Anthem a lot. Also, it's only been the National Anthem since 1931. The Green Bay Packers are actually older than that 😉

      February 7, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      I agree. She deserves everyone an apology. "Getting lost in the moment"? nonsense, she a paid professional. With performance and directing experience, with credibility I can say this happened becuase she was NOT properly prepared.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Shari

    There are so many good singers in the world and they picked her?! She's awful, and to not only sound terrible but flub the words, come on. What a shame! I hope she goes into hiding so we don't have to see or hear from her again!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • star

      Not getting a good singer for the anthem just went along with all the other mistakes that were made for this game. Lack of seating, three hours wait to get into the stadium, the Black Eye peas....and I am sure more that I have not mentioned. I must say someone could definitely write a book from this fiasco about all the things not to do when hosting the super bowl. I watched the close up of some of the players while the anthem was being sung and the look on their faces was definitely one that said hope this is over soon.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • yah it should'nt be embellished but most of the singers always have their own styles of singing competing for nothing who to be called as the best singer who sings in any of the prestigious competations and mostly of them flactuates and often times forget

      precisely! many good singers can sing a high pitch than aguilera like whitney houston and she is really awful considering that she was not really ready for the song.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • songbird

      sorry.. but whitney didn't play fair. her performance was previously recorded in a studio .. cleaned up and presented as being live. not what i'd call a respectable permormance.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. david

    doesn't anyone ever get fed up with the way that these so-called artists butcher the singing of the National Anthem???? Seems to me someone ought to have them practice with the band that will play along side of the singer. Anybody remember Roseann Barr's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. She should have been shot along with whoever the moron was who agreed to let her sing.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Don't worry – 20 years from now she'll be in a commercial slammed by a log...

      February 6, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry Bradshaw

      What bugs me about Ms. Aguilera is her self absorbed, gutteral, gurgling lows to screechiing, face contorted, all over the map high pitched deliveries. What a ham bone! The ONLY one who could mix it up with the Star Bangled Banner and make it good was Jimi Hendrix's instrumental version from several decades ago.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. skytag

    Who picks these people? He should be fired.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sue IL

    She was great!!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • poppa


      February 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Christina, you're not fooling anyone. You looked bad, you sounded bad, you tried to put your special BS spin on it, which would be annoying enough if you hadn't then messed up the words horribly. There's no excuse, other than you out partying until 6am. That would explain a lot. And it's my bet.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wanda

      I agree with Jeff's comments below.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Scott

    When are these TV execs going to find someone who can sing the Anthem the way it was intended to be sung???!!! Do they ever listen to rehearsals??? Christins A. did a pathetic rendition of our nations song! Unbelievably HORRIFIC!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • SteveW

      How is it supposed to be sung? Give us an example of the version you think is correct. Did Francis Scott Key pen just the words or words and music?

      February 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Just Google "National Anthem sung correctly"..... you'll see Carrie Underwood sing it flawlessly. No grandstanding, just respectfully done.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stinky Pete

      Actually, the "Defense of Fort M'Henry" was the poem written by F.S.K. during the War of 1812. So, I guess you can say it was never meant to be sung at all. It was put to music years later to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith (a drinking song!!) The "Star Spangled Banner" didn't become the national anthem until 1931.

      That being said, she butchered the song. She should be ashamed and embarrassed.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Here's a link to her doing it during the Stanley Cup Finals – 19 years ago! I would have settled for THIS version. So the claim that she got "nervous" is BS. If she could do it then, she could certainly do it now. She just didn't give a damn.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D Green

    Our national anthem is a beautiful, patriotic song. Sure, the lyrics are difficult, but the real problem is that these pop and hip hop stars usually embellish it and don't sing it straight. They butcher it even when they DO get all the lyrics right. It's a mockery of the song and they shouldn't be able to sing it this way. There are a million of other songs they can do that to. This is one song that should be left alone and sung correctly and with respect, but I knew before she started that she would do this.I'd like a tradition of using a military band from now on.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chicken

      I agree. It shocks me how all these singers don't bother to learn the song. And these are the people that earn millions of dollars every year.

      But Aguilara, Slash, and the Black Peas 15 minutes are over anyway. So long, farewell to a couple of tired acts.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carolyn from SC

      what a fab pre-game program. Fox and NFL definitely on track with a dynamic build up to SB45 until this 'floosey"blonde with no talent disgraced our beloved National Anthem! The talented young lady from Glee should have sang our anthem. Michelle sang with beauty and honor "America". Thank you Michelle!

      As for the terrible half time so called entertainment – we switched channels and watched a Criminal Minds re-run!

      Thanks to the Steelers and Packers for a great game!

      February 7, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marina

    Well, atleast she sang it live!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      Good point. She's a major talent and really hit the notes, but I agree with most, way to many syllables.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
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