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. Vyqxen

    Christina has a great voice. Just because she didn't hit all the high notes, while missing a few words, doesn't make it completely awful. One thing that was definitely odd though, was the NEW TELEVANGELIST LOOK she was sporting.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Linda

    Aguilera looks like a televangelist here. That was the most frightening thing about her performance.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ruby

    This is nothing new! Aretha Franklin got up to sing the national anthem at the 1968 Democratic comvention in was soon evident that she didn't know the words.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      worst superbowl halftime show and national anthem ever!!!!

      February 7, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • TIMEX

      I knew the moment she started singing that she was going to forget the words... I told everyone in the room.... They ALL AGREED. Sing the song the way it was supposed to be sung.... stop making a word that has only one syl. sound like it has twenty !!! WE (the population) don't like it when you superstar singers out there (mess up) our song with your individual talents that no one appreciates in OUR song. It's fine for your personal songs that are in the American Top 40. But, leave our national anthem alone and stop putting unwanted flair in it !!! PLEASE !!!!!!

      February 7, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • US VET

      Thank you...As to my knowledge There isn't any "YODELING" in either of those dear to our heart songs. Ever since the "PIG" Barr it has been a circus

      February 7, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Worst halftime show ever! Also, maybe she should have practiced The National Anthem, there will never be a better halftime show then Michael Jacksons! and i'm not a big fan of his.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      This halftime show was far better than last years. Of coursee, they could have used some auto-tuning since no one in the band can actually sing

      February 7, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Please have the military sing the national anthem at all future events on this grand of a scale and bring back the respect it deserves. This was embarassing to the entire country

      February 7, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • East Coast

      LOL Scott! Where's T-Pain when you need him?

      February 7, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • BuzzMann

      I really like her but in picture above does it not look like she is giving the nazi salute?

      February 7, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • palehoze

      Even if she did remember the words it would have been awful still. Forgetting the words is an honest mistake however, we live in the "land of the free", not the "land of the freeEAAAAeeeaaaEEEAAAYYEEEE." What a bunch of crapola.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Phil, Ohio

    It was a train wreck!
    I think they hire these people just to screw-up the song!
    Why can't they sing it the way it was written and not add their own 'flair'(/) to the song?
    For crying out loud, It's our national anthem!

    February 7, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr J

      Agree with Phil, Ohio... Losers hire losers... whoever put together this screwup should be clearly identified. Why put on stage a loser with no musical talent??

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

      Phil, I agree with you. Also, do these people not prepare? I mean gosh they are singing in front of millions of people. Plus, they are singing a song very dear to Americans. They need to leave the song in it's original state and sing it right.

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

      yeah. I mean really it's the national anthem sing it the way it was written. Don't add other crap to the song and really MEMORIZE it before you sing if you think you know it go over the words again

      February 7, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      @Dr.J, The person who put together this screwup would be the one and only Jerry Jones, multi-millionaire (or is it billionaire) owner of the Dallas Cowboys and owner of that stadium where the Super Bowl was played. Seeing that the man is a total ass, it's easy to understand why this Super Bowl sucked from an aesthetics point of view.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GayFish

      I agree. There is no need to hit every note in the freaking scale on every word, just sing the song, how it was written. That's why the best national anthem renditions are by military singers.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jimintexas

      Unfortunately, this song has become an exercize in vocal gymnastics and "look at me!" stylizing that detracts from any solemnity it once had. Now you can go to any high school volleyball game and some 12 year old will get up there and make it sound like you've wandered into a rural Baptist church at hymn time. The song is not supposed to have modulations in it. It's not supposed to sound like Motown.
      Nobody can sing along with this song, anyway, with its range. Let's switch to the more beautiful "America the Beautiful"

      February 7, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • j thomas

      So why don't you sing it next year and we shall see how you do

      February 7, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • SaltiDawg


      I agree with you 100%! she had murdered our Anthum even before forgetting the words.


      February 7, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Agreed! Worst rendition since Roseanne Barr! This should be in the top-10 worst list. Train wreck is right. The half-time show sucked too. The only good part of the Half-time show was Slash. The Black Eyed Peas and Usher showed ZERO singing talent. ANd if any one asks: Yes, I could do a better job.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • William

      I am a singer, I did the National Anthem at a College graduation last June. I promised the organizers to do it a way they have never heard it done before. Then I did it exacly how it was written and they all agreed they have never heard it done like that before. If she was more concerned with honoring our country than sounding impresive, she might have done it right. You want to impress us? Recored better songs. But leave the National Anthem alone!!

      February 7, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. just me

    Wow!,.. Did you hear her? Even if she got the words right and that i was doubting from the very start. She was not singing she was yelling and screeching. People that do this should be punished as it is unpatriotic to destroy our national anthem. Lost in the moment my rear end. Does she ever forget the lines to her songs?? Ummmm nope!.. and this is one she was singing in grade school. You are a disgrace to the United States of America Miss. Christina Gagulara

    February 7, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      I agree. Even if she had gotten the words right all of that screeching and yelling was just awful. It is a total disgrace when these "artists" feel that they have to change our national anthem to be their own. It is selfish, arrogant, and disrespectful. Are they that insecure that they cannot just sing the song as it is written? Maybe we should stick to having one of our armed forces personnel singing our national anthem. At least they would show some pride while doing it.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • JFI

      It was an awful rendition.....would be just awsome if anyone signing the anthem could just stand up,,,sing the song in it's natural meoldy without having to make each word and note carry opne for 15 seconds each and then be done. Everyone tries to make it thier song. It's "OUR" national anthem not your opportunity to self publicise.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I think the main problem is they get celebrities to sing the Anthem – which is okay – but the celebrities themselves need to understand this is not a recording for a record or an audition. Sing it the way it was written and don't try to embellish it.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    How sad that as a singer she probably has not sung the National Anthem that much. I think if you would go on the streets of the US. You would not find many that would know the words.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr J

      While not many of us remember the words.... SHE WAS HIRED TO SING THIS SONG... and SHE SHOULD NOT BE PAID TO SCREW IT UP.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • ML

      Actually, she has sang the National Anthem several times before and did just fine. In those cases, she wasn't trying to "soul it all up" and add dozens of extra syllables. She was given the priviledge to sing our National Anthem at probably the highest profile event of the year – and she was not prepared.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    Maybe she will get a web redemtion on Tosh.0

    February 7, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Stacy

      OMG, that would be great!! lol

      February 7, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Mariah

      HAHA, we can only hope so...DANIEL TOSH....Christina NEEDS you!

      February 7, 2011 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. BC

    The way that she sang it sounded like hog calling, except that any self-respecting hog would run in the opposite direction!

    February 7, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. American patriot

    What's the problem, she hit all the notes ... just not in the right order.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      Or from the right song....

      February 7, 2011 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason B.

      I think it's more of a case that she hit every conceivable note *except* the ones written on the sheet music. That was beyond awful.

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

      She hit /all/ the notes including many that aren't in the song.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marto

    Let he who has never flubbed the lines to our national anthem, during a weekend of druken debautchery (and God knows what else) be the first to cast stones! lol

    February 7, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • D_in_MD

      If you pay a "professional" singer to perform ONE song, the least they can do is learn that one song, sing it the way it was designed to be sung, and not lift your leg on it like a dog leaving its mark. To claim she was "lost in the moment" is BS. Has she never performed before large audiences? Maybe the truth is that she lip syncs her concerts and when she has to perform live she's unable to. Regardless, the fact is that she sucked and was a total embarrassment on a global stage.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. American patriot

    She hit all the notes, just not in the right order, and she was so excited she screwed up the words. She's an amateur.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. ML

    The young lady from GLEE that sang "Amercia The Beautiful" before the national anthem would have been a much better choice.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      She was fantastic! And sang that song beautifully. She definitely should have sang the National Anthem over Aguilera.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brad

    Even if she had the words right, she still butchered the song. It does not have 12 notes per syllable. I'm getting sick and tired of these pop stars singing our National Anthem the way they do. I wish it was law that if they are singing in a public venue that it be sung correctly or not at all!!!!

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

      Great idea...then when someone who is only human makes a mistake we can punish them for not doing it the way you like it...yes that's right in line with what the national America is all about. I had no idea we had so many perfect people out there. Must be nice to have never screwed anything up in your whole lives.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cathy

    Great time for them to be lip singing for one of the greatest songs of our country. These singers think they are all that and they mess up the most important song of our country, Our National Anthem. Come on people, they don't deserve any credit for screwing up.

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

      I agree. She's probably a liberal who loves Obamacare, and doesn't support our troops. Only a real American should be allowed to sing OUR national anthem. (For those of you who watch Glenn Beck, this is sarcasm.)

      February 7, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Maybe but

      First, until you've sang on a 70 Yard size big screen and in front of tens of millions, don't pretend to know the stress this artist was facing. Messing up the words didn't bother me. I knew it when she did it, and so did she. You could tell by her body language. She even tried to over compensate after that, which made it worse.

      That said, I do agree they need to find artist that can sing accapella. Not every pop singer can sing outside the studio or without their band. I don't blame the artist for that, everyone has their strength, I blame the talent agency that hired her.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • runswithbeer

      I have to wonder just how many Americans caught the error in real time? We had a room full of folks (Pubs and Crats) watching and like the famous wardrobe malfunction NO ONE CAUGHT IT REAL TIME.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, she tried it and flubbed it. It DOES happen.
      At least SHE admitted flubbing it and didn't make a disgrace of herself.
      Unlike a certain Rosanne Barr.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. VetteMan

    First off besides the fact it was terrible I do give her credit for not blaming some technician or Wardrobe Malfunction. Most importantly though I would gladly listen to that any day over the rediculous half-time show. "Black-Eyed Peas?" Gimme a break. I like Fergey and thing she has a great voice and talented. But dump the other losers. I gave the Karaoke light show about one minute before I had to turn the channel to some other loud obnoxious useless commercial that fills the airwaves.

    The annoucer stated it will be the best show in years. That was a rediculous statement to begin with but but obviously he was asleep by half-ime in previous years.

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

      Amen... After about 5 minutes, I went to Walmart with my wife... 🙂 Caught the rest of the game though, that wasn't too bad.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • mobrule

      I'd still do her. as for the black eyed p's, I haven't wanted to do the robot so bad in years...

      February 7, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
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