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. Sooziebfl

    My 7th Grade History teacher Mr Lewis made sure we all knew the lyrics to the National Anthem. He made each of us stand up and RECITE not SING them. One of our grades depended on it.

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

    She should be ashamed of herself... Not only messing up the words, but completely messing up the entire song with her rendition... I was at a party, and everyone there thought it was horrible.... Next year get someone who can sing it the way it was meant to be sung...... How sad that we had to put up with that.....

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

      Maybe next year they can get somebody that can put on a decent halftime show. Oh wait, they don't do that anymore because of Timberlake and Jackson; good job being p*ssies NFL and bowing to the stupid pressure of the PC people and the religious right, to which you must obviously cater, because there's no way you could put on a successful show by having good music.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scott Chend

    Seriously get some real talent like Sarah Brightman. Stop having these pop stars that think they have to show off their vocal range and stylize the national anthem it sounded horrible and your not impressing anyone.

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

    It's pretty simple...she tried to make the song about her instead of about us.

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

      oldguy, you hit the nail on the head right there. I support artistic freedom and expression, but to try to impress us with her vocal range, and to also not have enough respect to actually learn the words was uncalled for.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • runjackrun

      Excellent point! Now that I think of it, she DID try to make the song about her.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • try4clarity

      we were watching at work and had to have the sound off (company rules) and I could tell just by watching her facial expressions she was trying to show off her "amazing vocal range" rather than show respect to the country by giving a tasteful rendition.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Exactly! Well said. The traditional rendition of the National Anthem is the way it should be done, sung with respect and restraint; save that "artistic freelancing" for something else.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • crew md

      i couldn't disagree more.
      i thought that is exactly what she would do- but her very dress says it all. this was simply about a single voice belting out possibly the hardest song there is to sing.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      Absolutely right on assessment! Someone went to the trouble way back when to write the notes for the tune of the National Anthem, and she changed at least half of them. "Styling" with the National Anthem has been, for quite some time, a disturbing trend, but this was the worst I've ever heard.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    Totally inexcusable for a professional singer to screw this song up. She should have just sang it the way it was meant to be, instead of trying to "fancy it up"

    February 7, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sooziebfl

    My 7th grade teacher Mr Lewis amde sure we knew the lyrics to the Natiional Anthem because he made each of us stand up and RECITE not SING the Anthem. One of our grades depended on it. I will never forget that history lesson!

    February 7, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Big Game James

    And if you REALLY watched the game her version was moving for some. #22 from the Steelers was crying during the anthem!! But he is a black guy so in America he doesn't count!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Voice of Re@son

      Pretty sure he was weeping at the thought of this huge embarassment (Cindy Lauper wanna be) and her total lack of respect for the national anthem. I bet he knows the words.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      I thought it was Cyndi Lauper too when I saw the picture! Yes, she makes enough money, she could have studied the words before she sang it.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. 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. You'd be nervous too in front of several Billion viewers. I thought it was one of the Great Superbowls.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • runjackrun

      No excuses for her. She is used to performing in front of a huge audience. Even if we had to put up with her rendition of the song she still should have learned the words.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Lenardz

      I actually cought it real-time and I'm not even American!!! I was singing it along with her while watching it here in Canada and was peeved that she messed it up!!! I stopped singing the instant she messed up the National Anthem!

      She should show some respect and apologize to the country for messing that up. I mean goodness sakes, it's the national anthem! It's the song that represents the whole country, it's people, it's ideals, everything these soldiers fought and died for.

      I may not be American, but I love that country like my home (having studied in an American school since 2nd grade).

      February 7, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Big Game James

    If it aint white it ain't right!!! YEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHAAAAWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. pj

    How about next year the planners bring in the United States Navy chorus to sing. Honor those that should be honored with voices that are hauntingly beautiful. This broad is just another BIMBO. What is wrong with the planners of this event allowing a nit-wit to screech out her rendition of this country's national anthem? She ought to donate whatever money she made to military families.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. Just Asking

    She didn't do a very good job, but you must admit it's a difficult song. I mean really, how many Americans even know what a 'rampart' is? Mike Stivic and Archie Bunker argued this 30 years ago. Mike was right, what does ye-et mean? I love America, but in this country – you need to keep it simple. :o)

    February 7, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      When someone said about not knowing what a rampart was, I said think I do and was 100% correct – made sure by looking up afterwards. Not everyone is a dummy.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • pj

      Any grade school child that is actually getting an education knows the words. It's pretty easy to sort out the dummies from the educated just by using the song.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      It is a sad commentary on our educational system today that children are not taught the anthem and what the words mean and what the story is behind it. I knew all that before I was out of 5th grade. I guess "multiculturalism" and "diversity" mean that you can't put our traditions above anyone else's, even if they DO live in our country.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. The Boss

    It's the National Anthem, not a song to "make your own". Just sing it as it is. It doesn't need to be jazzed up or turned into a lounge song. Respect it for what it it ia and sing it as it was desinged to be sung. And for God's sake know the words.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Davesh

    The urban yodeling should stop

    February 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • CaptPete

      Thanks for the laugh:)

      February 7, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Big Game James

    And for the people who don't think she can sing google or youtube her singing james brown at the grammys. She blew that away!! But it's a hispanic singing a song a black man made famous so in America it doesn't mean anything!!

    February 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      What black man made the National Anthem famous? If you're referring to Ray Charles (I think it was–I'm terrible with names), he sang "American the Beautiful"–and his words of "God done shed His grace on thee" were a disgrace, too.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. mark

    Is that Cindy Lauper?

    February 7, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
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