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.

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

    A lot of things to question with this superbowl. Why Christina for the anthem. She's never been good at all and she's washed up now. And why the blackeyed peas. Pretty much the same deal with them. Are there budget problems or something. This was the worst superbowl I've ever watched. The last good game in a superbowl was XLII. Ussually the game is just an interruption to the entertainment. If last night was any indicator of future superbowls, they've just lost a viewer.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tina

    Sing the song the way it was meant to be sung... not with all those annoying "runs" that make me cringe. Horrible.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    I don't see why they don't let a kid sing it. Have an American Idol type contest from each team. At the end of the season they are all put in a hat and the winning name is drawn. the winner gets to go to the Super Bowl to sing.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anita

    She looks like Cyndi Lauper–too much makeup!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. emerald29

    Awful rendition. They should be made to do an audition or something first. It was painful to watch. Ugh.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Whoopi Goldberg

      Whats even worse than the natinal anthem flub and the aweful halftime show was Michael Douglas, before the game trying to compare the Super Bowl to JFK, MLK, the Apollo moon landing, Womens Suffrage, WWII, etc. The absurdity of pop culture in the country is so embarrasing.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • LetoAtreides

      America the Beautiful should be our natiional anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is too difficult to sing and does not capture the true America. America the Beautiful doesn't require such a difficult range of notes to perform and is a much nicer song overall. I applaud the courage of anyone who attempts to sing such a difficult song like that. Chriistina A. has a wonderful voice. The Star Spangled Banner has many casualties.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      she may be slightly qualified to sing this. Did you notice she sang at the NBA finals without any problem. Just a simple honest mistake. .....yes, in front of millions & millions....

      She has a great voice & is a great singer still.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You would think a super-star singer like her could at least remember the words.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Fuhrman

      All I can say is, just a week or so ago a little girl was told to sing the National Anthem correctly at her middle school basketball games or not sing anymore. Maybe we should hold these super stars to the same standards as the younger crowd. What is this country coming to when people can't sing there own National Anthem. Oh how have we forgotten all about the men and women who have fought and died for us to mess up such a meaningful piece of our history.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott Key

      Anyone that thinks the National Anthem should be changed from the Star Spangled Banner obviously don't know the history of the song... Its a true story of American triumph!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Blanca Vinje

      I absolutely agree with you, I had to put ear plugs.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Whoppi Goldberg – you hit the nail on the head. That add about how superbowl 40 will stand the test of time right up there with MLK and the moon landing. My god, I'll remember that day forever. I'll tell my children about the day Christina Aguilera destroyed the National Anthem. Through the ages this story will be passed!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      They should never have asked her to sing it. She can't sing, she can only warble. The National Anthem should be belted out, not warbled like a lounge song.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      I am sure emeral29 did not reach the "Awful rendition" conclusion based solely on the slightly messed up lyrics. Christina Aguilera's entire performance was painful to watch - the song out of her mouth did not sound like the national anthem at all.

      She sounded more focused on showing off her voice/skills than showing any respect for the original song!!!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • The Drummer

      I agree. It was painful to watch. All that grimacing and over singing. I turned it off after a few seconds.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Viv

      There is no one perfect and we all make mistakes. Ms. Aguilera is a talented singer who made a mistake. You all need to give her a break. Are you perfect? Have you ever made a mistake?

      February 7, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • STACI

      Christina is a wonderful person and an incredible talent....her performance last night was my favorite part of the entire show....artists are not meant to be perfect....they are meant to create things that move us.....

      February 7, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • CK

      The problem appears to be for me...when these singers decide to embellish the song or add their "stamp" to it. If they would just sing it naturally I doubt they would be making so many errors. The constant need to 'add' something to it, like longer drawn out high notes, probably makes them forget where they are.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. BuckWild

    WOW the people who cant sing a lick will be the first to critique..So what no big deal, she does have a great voice..oops she just happen to mess up oh well..Cant go back and change it...Everyone who has something to say, would you be able to sing as good as her or perform or any of that...UMM NO didnt think so

    February 7, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • AceRyder

      You call what she did singing? It was a vocal exercise.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Seamus Callan

      If she would stay in her range and not scream, yes, she has a good voice.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Bret

      That was not singing.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • MCL

      I could have sworn she went flat on a note midway through. Would need to hear it again, but something went sour. Whatever the case, that was a horrible rendition of a great song.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Percy

      Nope, we were all wowed/spoiled by Whitney Houston's rendition at Tampa stadium a few years back.
      I do agree a pre-game run though would have been appropriate.practice makes near perfect most of the time 🙂

      February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Harry from Sand Lake MI

      Being able to sing and being offended by a "professional" singer who simply can't remember the words and screwing up a song that is our national anthem are two different things.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • nitridr

      You call that singing? I sing much better than that. But they will not allow me to sing to open the big game as I do not have a big name. She butchered the song. Could not recognize the song. Kinda sounded like but not really. If you cannot sing then stay off the podium. Get a real singer. She is certainly not a real singer.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Actually, as a professional singer, yes, yes, I can do better. I could sing the national anthem better when I was in high school. People confuse fame with talent all the time. Sure, she's cuter than I am, she's far thinner than I am, she can dance better than I can, and she has a machine managing her and creating her sound/image. But, unequivocally, I can sing better than her. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans would sing better than she did. It was inexcusable. Why didn't they get someone from Broadway or the Met to sing the anthem?

      February 7, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      That hardly qualified as "singing" when it involved our National Anthem. She was too busy screaming the words to actually give the song the respect it deserves. I vote for having singers from our military services do the anthem in the future. They will atually sing the anthem with dignity.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Blanca Vinje

      Mr. BuckWild, when you are a professional singer, and had sang this Anthem before, you are not allowed to make mistakes!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • bruce

      Not so what, dude. That is the National Song of our Country and she screwed it up. How do you think that one felt to all our Armed Forces around the world watching this game. They are fighting for this country and we cannot even pick someone who can practice and get the words right for our National Song? Embarrassing, both for her and for the NFL . The NFL shows once again how out of touch they are in even picking a washed up, birdbrain for this key National moment. and by the way, she sounded horrible.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      There are thousands of people who can sing the National Anthem- it is an honor to be chosen. My daughter as a teenager sang the national anthem a capella for my husband's retirement from the military. She sang it perfectly. A superstar who is used to the pressure and nerves and has sung it before should be professional enough to do it perfectly. I could understand more if she flubbed a note- not the words.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      I am so tired of hearing stupid comments along the lines of " If you couldn't sing better, you shouldn't critique."
      Do you think , for example, that a footbal or baseball scout can perform on the field at one tenth of the level of the atheletes he evaluates? Of course not – and yet that scout is qualified to judge the players.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Elizabeth, if you don't think that she can sing, then you obviously don't know jack about singing.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      BuckWild – excuse me; I can sing, I coach singers. She screwed up because of a lack of preperation pure and simple and her renditional was about her and not the country. Her rendition was inappropriate at best. Not even an proper apology.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Mark, of course she can sing. Nearly everyone can. She just doesn't sing particularly well. Big difference.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. TBates

    There should be a citizen test before people sing our National Anthem, like know the friggin words. We got 7 and 8 year olds who sing it well. Please keep the bleach blonde so called artists away from our National Anthem. make it a law.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Dangram

      Actually Christina lived in my area when she was a little girl and she could belt out the National Anthem like a pro back then. When she started trying to add all her vocal gymnastics and show off how high her range was, she blew it! Fame evidently didn't make her a better artist. I will take the young Christine anyday who used to sing at local events and knock your socks off!!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    The average person would have a difficult time with the National Anthem. A professional performing with years of experience should not have any problems. So I say – Christina, do you know how you get to Carnegie Hall – PRACTICE!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Practice? You're talking about practice? We're sitting here and she's supposed to be grammy award winner, and you're talking about practice.

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

    Can't performers just sing the anthem vs. turning it into a showcase for their vocal capabilities? It sounds terrible when they go up and down and up and down and trill and extend their voices. It's like a poor American Idol performance.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • JS

      Amen hit it on the head.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jdrome

      Right on! It is the "NATIONAL" anthem.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tantie

      I totally agree. Can't we let one of the armed forces singing groups do it? They sing it with RESPECT. After the mess C.A. made at the NBA finals, I cannot imagine anyone asking her again...but the Superbowl? The national anthem is not the time to show off how you can *personalize* your rendition. Please, NBA and NFL: NO MORE OF HER!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • buffy420

      I agree. Save the extended notes and trills for your own songs the National Anthem was not meant to be a showcase of skills (or lack there of) They all do it tho. I was turned off by Steven Tyler's version awhile back cause he kept extending the notes and just making the song his own. Sing it like its meant to be sung or don't sing it. I think that is as inappropriate as picking your nose at the dinner table its a just not cool...

      February 7, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Indy Prof

      Exactly – This is the problem with the way our national anthem is ROUTINELY sung these days – as a vehicle for showing off one's personal idea of OUR national anthem should sound like as some jazzed-up, trilled out, pop number. PLEASE! JUST SING IT AS IT WAS WRITTEN!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. jfh6200

    "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last reaming," .... FAIL

    February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ted

    There was a time when very school student, stood in the morning to the Pledge of Allegence and sang the National Anthem with pride. I did so, so that 60 years later I can still stand and sing it wth pride while watching the "its all about me generation" can sit, wearing hats and show complete disrespect to this this countries flag and National Anthem. That same flag and Anthem that gives you the right to be "all about me"

    Whoever allow this to happen should make a public apology on national television to those of us who fought and died for the rights you'll find no where else in this world.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Maybe you should've raised your kids better.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • neal kelley

      You are completely right. I grew up in the 70's and we had to stand and recite the pledge of Allegence each morning. Many of our youth have taken the sacrifices people have made fro this country for granted. God bless the fallen and God bless America!

      February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It was obviously a mistake. She's an idiot none then less, but calm down. It's pretty clear she didn't mean to disrespect America.

      The "me" generation huh? Sound like a self-righteous person who wants attention so they go post their opinions to a website.. Sounds like you fit right in with us.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Boy you really haven t traveled have you.
      I know a lot more countries where we have way more freedom than your U.S. of A

      February 7, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • rev_cletus

      Jeepers, dude – project much?

      What was the name of that teevee show, anyway?

      February 7, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      A M E N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You said it all !

      February 7, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Old Timer

      Neal, you grew up in the 70s. You're part of the problem. Thanks for the financial crisis, by the way.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      My boys are fine. Both have proudly served this country because they wanted to do something rewarding and wanted to give back to others and promote freedom. They have shown respect for those freedoms they have given by this country and others.

      Wonder if you have?

      February 7, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tired of it

    Her dress was too tight...that was it!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • buffy420

      huh and here I was thinking Booze.....

      February 7, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. normmd

    I caught the flub, but I actually DO know the words (to the first verse, at least). I just wish that a person honored enough to sing the National Anthem at a major event like this (or any other, for that matter) would sing it straight, like it was written. Leave the overworking to your own crappy creations!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Pattigee

      Absolutely correct. The Star Spangled Banner IS NOT a R & B song........and should NOT be sung as such.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • neal kelley

      IIt should be sung in the manner and expression of the person who choose the sing it. Why because it shows the diversity of this great country. People used to speak Old English in the USA. Does that mean we should not be speaking our current version of English? Do you still speak Old English? I hope not.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • rev_cletus

      Here's a perfect solution, for all you good peeps who git yer knickers in a wad every time someone sings that tired old ditty (based on an older English *drinking* song, to catch you up on yer own hist'ry) in a manner the doesn't suit you: don't have a singer at all – just play an old Marine Band recording of it (from a scatchy old LP) and let all the patriotical types wastin' time on the spectacle *sing it themselves*. I'm *sure* it'll sound a lot better.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      True story: the tune for the National Anthem was a popular (gasp) British drinking song before it was set to Francis Scott Key's lyrics. I agree that the song can be interpreted, however the more the singer "interprets" the song, the more the song becomes about the singer and the less it becomes about the country and original message. A little flourish and improv goes a long way.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • buffy420


      Here's a perfect solution, for all you good peeps who git yer knickers in a wad every time someone sings that tired old ditty (based on an older English *drinking* song, to catch you up on yer own hist'ry) in a manner the doesn't suit you: don't have a singer at all – just play an old Marine Band recording of it (from a scatchy old LP)
      .......................................................................I know that was sarcasam but its not a bad Idea, I actually love the sound of scratchy old LPs It would absolutly give it a dated feel which would be approriate as its an old song

      February 7, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dave D

    I don't mind that she flubbed it......people make mistakes. What I do mind is that every other pop/r&b/etc star that gets the honor to sing our National Anthem has to put their own little signature on it. I find it disrespectful to the country. Sing it right or don't accept the invitation.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Army Dad

    The National Anthem for the Super Bowl was a complete embarassment. The Star Spangled Banner is meant to be played by a band, preferably a marching band, and should be sung by everyone present at the event. Do not let anyone try to "change" or "improve" on the original. It was a further embarassment that our brave military personnel had to suffer through such a butchering of what should be a very proud and forceful song. Being nervous or caught up in the moment is just a lame excuse. God Bless our Troops and God Bless America!!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • schoolsub

      We won't see an improvement until the event managers stop hiring freaks to sing it.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • deez

      actually army dad, if you knew your history, you'd know that the tune to the Star Spangled Banner is a drinking tune.
      aka, NOT a marching band tune.
      way to fail at your history. next time you open your mouth you might want to make sure you're not wrong.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Army Dad

      Hey Deez, If you knew your history, you wold know that it was actually a poem to begin with. So what if the tune that was put with the words was a drinking song, the fact is it is our National Anthem and should not be butchered by anyone. Sounds to me like you are not very patriotic to begin with.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78