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. ELH

    Simply the worst rendition of our National Anthem I have ever heard. The gratuitous liberties this mope took with the basic melody ruined the performance. Not knowing the words paled beside her classless presentation.

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

      IIf that was the worst you ever heard, you apparently never heard the rendition that was like nails on a chalkboard when Roseanne did it. I was traumatized for life after that one.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gbird

      You never heard Rossane Barr's version? Google it you'll change your mind.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Amen. Stop trying to rewrite the entire melody to show off your "talent" and just sing the damn song. She got so wrapped up in running scales and changing the simple, classic melody that the words somehow became secondary. Shameful, self-indulgent nonsense.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      ELH – so true. get someone that isn't up there for themselves. total shame. so many solders have died while that song was first written and she is up there just destroying it... i say we ship her to France or maybe for a few deployments to Afghanistan to dig some fox holes.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brasil1958

    Jose Feliciano started this stylizing the national anthem and its now been taken to new heights or depths depending on your point of view. I don't believe there is any anthem in the world where the rendition has been turned into the kind of audio/visual spectacle it has in the USA. Just get a good singer....sing the anthem and get the heck off on.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jose in Detroit

      Jose sang it great, listen to it on youtube.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy Z

      I just *knew* it was the Mexicans' fault!

      February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marty in MA

    It's a tough song.
    Too many pop singers try to sing the Star Spangled Banner and over do the melismatic thing.
    America The Beautiful should be the national anthem.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fred

    There are a lot of dreadful versions of the national anthem. Hers was as bad as any. Thank God the doorbell rang in the middle of it.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Janice

    Where is Roseanne Barr when we really need her!!

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      In a Snickers commercial..

      February 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. handelway

    perhaps if people knew where the song came from it might explain the garbled renditions. It was an 18th century British drinking song.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      So Francis Scott Key wrote that as a British drinking song? Might want to check that fact.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      I'd love to know where you got the idea that it's a British drinking song? Are you on crack?

      February 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kryptology

      Let's just be clear about your statement. The melody to the Star Spangled Banner originated from a drinking song, but not the lyrics. It was common at in the early 1800s for people to use a well known melody as the basis for a song's lyrics. It made it easier for more people to remember and sing the song. Perhaps Christina should have lived at a different time and she would have less difficulty.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • yup

      The melody is from an old drinking song.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • joan stevenson

      the melody was taken from an old british drinking song....the lyrics were written by francis scott key....

      February 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    Give her a break. I'm not a professional singer, but I do sing in a bunch of rock bands around the town I live in, and it's not uncommon for me to occasionally flub lyrics. Most of the critics on this forum have probably never had to stand in front of a crowd and perform. Expecting a professional singer to never flub a lyric is like expecting a professional speaker to never say "uh" or lose their place / train of thought. Guess what – it happens.

    Having said that, it's always funny to see somebody else do it. Some singers are better than others when it comes to "unintelligable".

    February 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wanny

      It's one thing for a guy that sings for a bunch of local rock bands to mess up lyrics while singing in bars to drunk college-age kids. It's quite another monster when a grammy winning, rich, successful PROFESSIONAL, getting paid probably hundreds of thousands of dollars, gets on stage for the biggest sporting event of the year, and destroys the national anthem.
      Not even close to the same, dude.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • plitt5

      Then she shouldn't not have agreed to sing it in front of a live audience of millions!!

      February 6, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      John – you might not be a "professional" singer – but she IS. And she got paid well into the 6 figures (possibly 7) to do something for 5 minutes, and she couldn't even do that right...

      You're just being politically correct – she sucked, she screwed the song up, and the Black Eyed Peas sucked... the entertainment portion of this year's Super Bowl was just HORRIBLE..

      February 6, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DZ

      Honestly- it's quite possibly the best known song on the planet. How does a "pro" goof that up?

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

      I have done professional singing but never did I flub my lines or try to distort anything nearly to death. Why these so-called professionals believe that the Anthem does not deserve respect defeats me. And why anyone tries to find excuses for them defeats me further.
      The lass from Glee did a fine rendition of America – despite her nerves, and she has had far less experience in singing to large crowds.
      We need to stop finding excuses for the lame ducks and spend more time encouraging and appreciating the greats.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I'm not a professional singer – but I've never forgotten the words to our National Anthem. Not once since I learned it when I was a kid.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nodat1

    sorry, just plain sorry.... Don't they screen these people to make sure they know the words to the Anthem before they let them them on stage? Now before anyone starts crying your to harsh and haven't you ever made a mistake type BS she is a professional and should act like one, Correct? She is suppose to practice her act in order to put on a great show, correct? If this was a concert you would expect her to know the words to the songs she was singing correct? bottom line, just a plain sorry performance by her.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seth Pascal

      Correct. I love you.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larry

    Another example of why they should get a real singer to sing.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • she

      My sentiments exactly.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve Scubanski

    Maybe if she concentrated on the ANTHEM rather than herself, particularly her vocal gymnastics. These celebrity anthem singers need to realize that the moment is about the song, and not about them. What a blow-hard, literally...

    February 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    Bob Saget...

    How can you guarantee such a thing? I assume that you are among the clueless that can't remember the words to a song that is played at nearly every sporting event in America. Keep on hating if it feels right.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anita

    Just read the Complete Poem, not just the verses that are traditionally sung. You may have a renewed appreciation,
    Although Christina tried to urban yodel the anthem to death; Canadian PM Harper gave a border speech in the US this week in French and without an interpreter. The boob prize is up for grabs

    February 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • lecanada

      Sorry, I don't get your point. I'm not a fan of Harper, but many Canadians speak French.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LV

    It was terrible. Good game. Great halftime show.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. seanb

    yeah, yeah, wrong words, whatever... I want to know WHERE'S THE WARDROBE MALFUNCTION?

    February 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Smokey

    She could have done an awful lot worse, and still been better than the Black Eyed Peas were at halftime!

    February 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
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