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. TAC

    She looked and sounded terrible. Next time just play Whitney Houston's version and call it a day.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andrzej from Poland

    Very funny. But what about this hitler salut? Maybe she wanted tell us, how to understand the american "foreign policy".

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Old Timer

      Perhaps. And perhaps the Soviets should have won the cold war. How would that have worked out for Poland, "Andrzej"?

      February 7, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Who cares? Im from a military family and like to hear our anthem at proper occasions. Its fine to play it before a sports event but not particularly relevant unless the sporting even involves two countries. When I grew up in army bases around the world in the 70's and we woke up at odd hours to watch the NFL on CBS or baseball on ABC they never showed the anthem on TV – sometimes they just talked over it. Its just modern day hype – I want to watch football – Anthems, advertisements or halftime shows are all mutable. Loving your country means a lot more than drinking beer and singing a song before a football game.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. strumnfish

    If she only sang it the way it was intended, and not tried to sweeten it up with a bunch of jive overtones and phrases, she may have done alright...

    Why do people change the tune???

    Ugh....once a ditz.....

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. DDALE

    Why can't this song be sang the way it was intended. Al the "extra" oohohohooowowoooo's are disrepectful and ruin the song. Also, If you don't know the words, then perhaps she should have taken the time to learn them. Talent....she is NOT!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. christopher catalano

    She does, underneath all the over-singing, have a tremendous voice. But she highlights a huge problem that many contemporary pop singers suffer from: too much style and not enough substance. It was not moving, not because she turned it into a full-on train wreck after she went off the rails, but because she over-compensated by attempting to show off her range and chops. Music is about pure emotion, and this type of singing is too much about ego. An epic failure.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. A CNN Reader

    Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Warhammer

    Cut her some slack. I bet the majority of the critics on this site or in this country can't even hold a single note with quality much less sing an entire song flawlessly. She's human and is prone to make a mistake. She still sang it beautifully and the spirit of the song rang through. Regardless of the mistake, I was still moved.

    Our human race is very interesting to say the least. A performer can sing 100 performances without any errors. But when that same performer botches a few notes during the 101st performance, guess which performance everybody talks about? Pitiful...

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

      you were moved? Well, I had a movement too, after hearing her.....a bowel movement.

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


      February 7, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. joe

    shes smart

    February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe citizen abroad

    It's Enrico Palazzo!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Homer

    Yes, she has a good voice. But just sing the song.

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

      I applaud anyone able to cover eight octaves as required by the anthem. Personally, I can't carry a tune in a closed bucket.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. harvey wallbanger

    Give the woman a break. Everybody makes mistakes, what she is doing to herself is bad enough already. Unfortunately, this will haunt her professionally for quite some time. It could have been a lot worse, like when Regan said on the air that Russia had been outlawed and we start bombing in five minutes.

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

      Yes, but she knew that the mic was live.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Vested

    I forgive making an unintentional error not how she butchered the song with her schizophrenic changes to the notes. Had she just sang the song with her powerful voice as it was designed, it would have been great and probably not messed up the lines. But, no, she had to go with the vocal gymnastics.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Maggie

    Perhaps if she had focused on the meaning as opposed to style, she would have fared better....

    February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. EvilGenious7

    See what happens when recording artists actually have to sing instead of lip-synch? Utter chaos!

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