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. rob

    "O'er the ramparts we WATCH'D" , huh? Here I was all these years thinking that the word was spelled "WATCHED".

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Richie P

      The contraction makes it clear that you don't pronounce "watch-ed." Nowadays, nobody would say "watch-ed" anyway, but who knows how people talked back when the song was written? We don't have recorded audio from 1814.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Graced

      The original lyrics had it spelled as "watch'd" – which is not surprising given that it was written in the year 1814. Nice try at sarcasm, though – but unfortunately for you, the article is written correclty.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Pilfer

      Yep, as was pointed out Francis Scott Key's original manuscript clearly has the word "watch'd" in his own handwriting.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. sheikyerboutie

    Her singing was aweful too. I think the Glee girl did a way better job

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      The glee girl lip-sinked. Her performance was pre-recorded. Know the facts before commenting!

      February 7, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    I would actually cut her some slack considering she actually attempted to sing it live, instead of lip synching to a tape recording, like almost every other Superbowl National Anthem performer.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      Carrie Underwood sang it live and it was amazing. Aguilera can't sing.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      I think she did a great job....

      February 7, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Ochubbs

      you are crazy if you think Christina Aguilera can't sing. As for her singing being over done and diva'esque(if that is a word) I would agree with anyway thinks she got caught up in her own ego and dis-respected the song like most performers do.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      Exactly! Aguilera cannot sing. Hate all that "melisma" – milking each note. Makes me always think "throw up and get it over!" Ugly singing style. Aside from the ugly singing, there is NO excuse for flubbing the National Anthem, especially if you are a "professional" performer.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Canada

    Great game...great outcome..... but someone needs to learn how to sing that song correctly! If I was an American... I would be embarrassed! God Save the Queen!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      I'd be embarrassed to keep giving millions to a royal family that does nothing.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Graced

      Hey Canada – that's the great thing about being an American – many Americans think she sucked, but our feelings toward the song remain the same ! God bless our freedom of speech to yell "booooooo" when someone stinks like her 😉 O Canada is a beautiful song, btw...and you guys make great beer. Later, eh!

      February 7, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • point shaver

      the N F L placed the super bowl in the hands of the team they wanted too. Shame on you Big Ben, we won't let you win this one. and Green Bay Packers fans thank you Mike Martz ( Chicago Bears offensive coordinator) for once again making the difference.

      February 7, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. mykidsrmyluv

    Anyone else wonder whether maybe this was *on purpose*?

    Free publicity is good publicity, whether it's positive or negative. Kinda like a "wardrobe malfunction...."

    After all, how long would the talk of CA's er...performance...last if she'd just performed it well and walked off the field? Would however many thousands of people have read this article and (as of this posting) thousands more have commented if she'd simply followed the sheet music and sung the verse through?

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • phatslim

      This is the dumbest conspiracy theory ever. She made a mistake, owned up to it, and it's over with. Are your lives STILL affected by flubbed lines the morning after? Isn't there another post to troll? You know, like making fun of health care, Obama, or orphans? I see the CNN comment nuts are just making their rounds again.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • jujubeans

      yeah, right, her agent said "I know, Christina. Screw up the lyrics and it'll make all the papers." And Christina said "Myron, you're a genius!"

      February 7, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ralf A.

    How much did they pay her for that? Very embarrassing!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. arkagene

    For all that will ever sing the National Anthem. It's our song not yours.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. harpoo51

    Instead of paying high-priced (over-priced) "entertainers" why not give the privilege of performing the National Anthem to a deserving marching band? At least that way they won't flub the words. The song sounds so much better when performed by a band instead of a singer anyway. Who needs all these flourishments added to it anyway.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • yankeedoodle

      EXACTLY!...and on "that note": why can't someone just "lead" but we all just sing it together?...after all, it is OUR national anthem and it would mean so much more for us to be unified!

      February 7, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • AleeD

      Because the Super Bowl is no longer "just a football game" – it has become big business. Each fraction of activity during the broadcast (singing of the National Anthem, coin toss, the kick-off etc.) has become commercialized to the point of absurdity. The Super Bowl lost it's attraction for me when they sued for the naming rights & won. Now advertisers have to make veiled references to "the big game" or they will be sued. Ridiculous.

      I watched the "Toilet Bowl" on DIY Network instead. MUCH more entertaining – and you learn stuff, too! [;-)

      February 7, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. jay

    Christina Aguilera sang the Stars Bangled Banner like Jason Williams plays basketball; trying to do whats more than required for the sake of style points to the point where you screw up. Jason Williams would toss a behind the back pass that would sail out of bounds when an easy pass for a layup would have sufficed. Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion all sing that same fake faux soul on every song. She herself says "I got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place." Stop trying to do so much and K.I.S. hon! Sometimes substance trumps style!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. juan

    the national anthem must be very serius not a show, cristina not represent these.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • James Steward

      SUperbowl is a show. Nothing serious then. This wasnt a church or an event at the White House. She did a wonderful job and we all make mistakes. Get over it none of this made a change in your life.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jinda

    How many notes can be sung to support a single-syllable word? She sang like she was trying to prove something to someone — and failed miserably! These showboat vocalist have to go.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      Jinda, Like you, I deplore her singing style (called melisma). It's totally ugly and NOT music to my ears at all.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. W7RKD

    If this were China, she would of been throw in prison. Too much Meth maybe?

    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. EM

    I find it amusing that alot of Americans would criticize her, considering the fact that most don't even know the words. For most, someone had to point out the fact that she screwed up the words.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim


      February 7, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. POD

    Find a singer.....not a 'celebrity bimbo'.....that can actually sing; then have him or her sing the national anthem in the traditional style in which it was meant to be sung. There is a time and place for a pop interpretation of music....the singing of the national anthem is not that place.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      Celebrity bimbo?? She has sold millions upon millions of albums...what have you done?

      February 7, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • TCWisconsin

      Perfectly said. She did a hack job on a simple task. Do it right without turning the national anthem into a hip hop funky jazz torch song.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. DJ

    The Star Spangled Banner doesn't end with the word "America". I believe that is the song she sang, not the national anthem.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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