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. mrbones

    They should have let the Cactus Cuties sind it. They are wonderful and no one can do it better.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wndrwoman254

    I appreciate KFC letting me get all legs in the $10 special. superbowl livingroom picnic's are the best.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ted_E_Bear

    Well, here's what I don't understand.......

    When was it ever made a requirement for the National Anthem to be sang at any sporting event in the US, anyway? Since it's continuously being slaughtered by just about anybody that sings it anymore, perhaps it's time that we relegate it to official military and/or political events. I'm sure the government can find somebody in this great big country that can sing it correctly.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Let me summarize this blog...
      The song is difficult so we should change it...
      We're not patriotic enough to even want it sung at sporting events anymore...

      Pathetic. Take some pride in your country, it's people, and our heritage. If you are so unpatriotic and so unhappy, please leave. This goes in the same liberal BS categories as not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, not keeping score at youth sports, and not giving grades in elementary school. If you are too stupid to learn the words to any song, maybe your lack of discipline is the issue and not song. If we get rid of everything that people think is "too hard" or they dismiss it because they have no idea the real history behind it and what it means to those who do, we might as well just start tearing down the memorials in D.C. too. That would free up a lot of space we could use to teach kids how to be beggars and live off others.

      Heaven forbid we take pride in ourselves, each other, our country, and those that came before. You people who wrote to the contrary suck.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merely Amused

      Except that the song is not 100% about OUR heritage since the tune is "To Anacreon in Heaven"–a BRITISH song that is identified with drinking. Ironic that our anthem's music came from the country we fought a revolution against.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Common Sense

    The only cheering during the anthem was for George Bush!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoNick

      Yes it was! They gave him another "O" when they showed him and Laura on the wide screen ...

      February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dissident

    Fox put together the worst Super Bowl ever! The national anthem was screwed up, the half time show was the worst ever. Real crap.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoNick

      Yea that halftime show blew....I turned on a football game and the next thing I'm on the dance floor at flippin' CLUB GHETTO....

      February 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jon

    That was the worst national anthem ever!! I had a hard time watching

    February 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buddy

    I have to say that was probably the worst halftime show I ever saw. Whatever happened to singing real songs instead of all the techno junk and screaming and shouting. To me it wasn't entertaining it was disappointing. Next year get someone or group that can actually sing without needing all the hupla to cover the untalented.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |

    I am so glad we live in a country were our biggest worry and complaint is that of an entertainer messing up the words of a song at a game. She is a human, she made a mistake...GET OVER IT LOSERS.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoNick

      For your info that song is a tribute to all the people who died for our freedoms so we can tell people like you what idiots you are for not giving a rat's azzzz.

      It's a tradition that's supposed to be taken seriously and handed down to our children, just like this now ghettofied society people like you and your friends are turning into a human cesspool because nothing matters to people like you.

      Show some pride in your country bro.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |

      @Chicago Nick...STF

      You are talking about pride and you insult an entertainer for messing up a song???? What kind of American are you? Do you suppose you are perfect? Are you suggesting Christina purposely messed the song up. Its an ok song and I am a veteran...

      February 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merely Amused

      Not really, Nick. The POEM was written about a siege and the BIL of Key decided it would make a good song. It wasn't even our official anthem until 1931. So, do tell-what did they sing before?

      Another suggestion: "Stars and Stripes Forever" by Sousa. It DOES have words, BTW.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Merely Amused
      Well you have proven that you are deft at searching Wikipedia for factual tidbits... amazing. Try to visualize yourself in the fight of your life and then seeing that all your passion, emotion, blood, sweat, and tears weren't wasted. That many brave men fighting for freedom had not died in vain. That you had won even a small victory for the moment against a superior force. That you have given hope to the men, women, and children of your young homeland that they may live free.
      The song is about more than drinking and is certainly not about Great Britian. It trancends the moment that was captured in the form of a poem, and when the arrangement was chosen to construct a song. The moment you can imagine that it tells the story of not only one moment during the American Revolution, but of every man and woman who has fought for their country since, maybe you'll grasp what it truly means.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      The national anthem is about patriotism & it deserves much more respect than it was given. It wasn't just forgetting the words that made it bad. Aguilara gave a poor performance overall. The sour & flat notes she made, as a poor attempt at jazzing it up, were the swan song of a fading diva trying to reanimate her career. It was disrespectful in the eyes of many veterans other than you, who are still proud of our country's anthem.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • James Steward

      Itotally agree. She did a wonderful job. Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq and killed over 1 million innocent Iraqi and nobody send them to jail.
      Most folks here couldnt remember that song past the 2nd line.

      She is a wonderful White Latina singer.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. bud

    I hope she was not paid

    February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Squincher

    At the risk of sounding treasonous, I think we should dump the "Star Bangled Banner" and adopt "America the Beautiful" as our National Anthem. That girl from Glee ( I don't know her name), sang "America the Beautiful" flawlessly. She got the easier song to sing than Christina.

    As any singer or music student or teacher will tell you, "Star Spangled Banner" is a very difficult song to sing for a professional, let alone an amateur. You have to have a really good vocal range to sing. It just has too many high notes to hit and there are no middle notes oftentimes to join the high and low notes. Every other word seems to have a different pitch. The "Star Spangled Banner" sounds great being played by a band, but terrible when sung by the average singer.

    For me, "America the Beautiful" gets my vote.....with all due respect to Francis Scott Key.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Saget

      It has the lyrics: "God shed his grace on thee". If they don't get rid of that line/change that, then I think the SSB should be kept as the national anthem.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas in Vancouver

      Non-American though I may be, I have to agree with you. I've always found it odd that America is the only country that does not include its own name anywhere in its national anthem.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Squincher

      @ Bob Saget: Well, look at it this way: Our coins from the Nickel, to a a Quarter have the words "In God We Trust".
      what's the big deal about having "God she his grace on thee" as a line in the New National Anthem?

      February 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Squincher

      @ Bob Saget: Sorry, my fingers tripped on the keyboard. It's "God Shed his Grace on Thee". I forgot to type in the D.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merely Amused

      It has an octave range of 1 1/2. Most people have trouble with ONE octave. Now Mariah Carey sings in a 4-octave range, by contrast. "America the Beautiful", "This Land is Your Land" or "Stars and Stripes Together" are all good alternatives.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • alanjay1

      Frankly, I wasn't much impressed with the girl from Glee either. And the Christina came and made her look like an absolute genius.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. vikingslost


    Great response to this article. Yes, Christina Aguilera is a beautiful performer. Most of us posting here can't even carry a tune. She was fabulous

    Congratulations to CNN for bringing the Super Bowl coverage to us.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. driving

    it is really a shame that we can not get alone in the Great United States" why did she not practice the singing""?? i really didn't notice' i was looking at her" who is she""

    February 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Not

    How could she it wrong... it's so simple.

    Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava,
    Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana.
    Moguchaya volya, velikaya slava –
    Tvoyo dostoyanye na vse vremena!


    Slav'sya, Otechestvo nashe svobodnoye,
    Bratskikh narodov soyuz vekovoy,
    Predkami dannaya mudrost' narodnaya!
    Slav'sya, strana! My gordimsya toboy!

    February 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Not

      Just in case you were wondering how it goes. =

      February 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    To all the posters claiming that the vast majority of Americans do not know the words or even noticed the mistake..get a clue. Just because you do not know them there is no need to project that on the rest of us. I am so weary of people bashing America for every little thing. I love this country and would not live anywhere else. Would you? If the answer is yes, you are free to go. The flubbing of the National Anthem reflects on no one but Christine Aguleira. America will overcome a poor rendition of our song as we have many times before. All the forever negative posters out there should try enjoying things for once and then saying something nice. It is a much better feeling.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Saget

      You're the one that doesn't have a clue. I can guarantee you that a large majority of the US doesn't know all the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sf

      it is just a song that very few people even relate to.
      what the HELL is a rampart?
      i bet NO ONE uses that word in real life outside of this song.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoNick

      Thank you. Don't you hate that "well everyone this and everyone that" maybe in the crackhouses no one knows it, or at their al Queda meetings or WIKILEAKS rallies they don't give a rats behind...There are millions out here who either fought for these freedoms we have and millions of others who died for the right to sing that song in a free society.

      These are the products of the ghetto ification of America allowing any slime who can run jump and swim hopping our borders treating our country like a free for all welfare and food stamp orgie....God help us all.

      Many people cry when they sing that song. I'm one of them since about 5 people in my family have died on the battlefields of France and Germany as yours likely did as well and this pays tribute to them but these nimrods don't care about anything but their next crack rock or meth hit.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sf

      yeah, the superbowl,dominos pizza ad, the national anthem, then more commercials for crap.
      those dudes with helmets running into eachother while everyone else sits around eating TOTALLY reminds me of ww2. *(tear)*

      February 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      A rampart is a defensive wall that can be made of different materials. Actually, my kids used it when they were making a snow fort last month with the 28" of snow we got. Careful or you may be hoist by your own petard!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    Christina Pig-uilera is a classless pig and an embarassment to our culture.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bradley

      To have class is to conduct oneself with grace and dignity. Calling a woman you don't know a pig is about as classless as one can be.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
    • pj


      February 7, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • James Steward

      Chris do you call your mother and sisters those names too? or you just hate women in general?
      She is a beautiful slim, far from pig. talented white Latina singer. She did a wonderful job even with her small mistake. Most folks in the USA cant remember that song past the 2nd line.

      February 7, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
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