Star-Mangled Banner: The 10 Worst Performances of The National Anthem Ever
What’s more American than barbecued brats and apple pie? Schadenfreude, that’s what. So what better way to celebrate America’s birthday — you don’t look a day over 150, doll — than with some good old fashioned shame. Our national anthem is notoriously hard to sing and the lyrics are frequently botched even by the pros. Here are the 10 worst performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” ever.
Honorable Mention for Creativity: R. Kelly
The thing about R. Kelly is, you don’t ask him to do anything if you don’t want it done weird.
10. Steven Tyler – Ravens vs. Patriots: 2012 NFL Playoffs
Steven Tyler was ridiculed for this rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He flubs the lyrics around the 1:00 mark, but mostly people were just upset about the quality of his voice. This isn’t the first time he’s sung the national anthem, however, and at least it’s true to who he is as a singer. If you don’t like how it sounds, stop asking him to sing it.
9. Keri Hilson – Lakers vs. Hawks: 2010
Keri Hilson must have seemed like a good choice to sing the anthem before a Lakers-Hawks basketball game: she’s a talented singer, plus she’s from Atlanta. The problem is, she didn’t learn the lyrics.
8. Christina Aguilera – Steelers vs. Packers: 2011 Super Bowl
Christina Aguilera made mistake similar to Hilson’s. Unfortunately, hers was on a much bigger stage: the Super Bowl.
7. Scott Stapp – Ford 400: 2005
Unfortunately, Scott Stapp’s “Grammy Award-winning voice” just doesn’t cut it.
6. Cuba Gooding, Sr. – CIAA Soulabration: 2008
Known better as the father of Snow Dogs star Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sr. is the lead singer of The Main Ingredient, best known for “Everybody Plays the Fool.” His spirited rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been mocked for years.
5. The Fray – Kansas vs. Kentucky: 2012 NCAA Championship
It’s hard to blame The Fray for this hard to watch performance of the national anthem, as there were clearly some audio issues behind the scenes. It is, nonetheless, certainly cringe-worthy.
4. Lauren Alaina – Packers vs. Lions: 2011
American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina forgot the first rule of performing live: never stop going. Especially when you’re on live television, it only draws attention to your mistake.
3. Michael Bolton – Yankees vs. Red Sox: 2003
2. Roseanne Barr – Padres vs. Reds: 1990
Roseanne Barr was obviously trying to create an uproar, which she did, which is why this only lands at number two on the list.
Side note: remember Madonna’s old accent?
1. Kat DeLuna – Cowboys vs. Eagles: 2008
The only thing worse than singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” poorly is looking like some B-grade pop diva while doing so, which is exactly what Kat DeLuna did in 2008. Through a thousand vocal runs and forgotten lyrics, you can tell that DeLuna thinks she looks like Beyoncé he whole time. She doesn’t. Plus she defiled my precious Dallas Cowboys with her nonsense, which earns her the top spot on this list. (My list, my rules.)
Bonus Best Performance Ever: Whitney Houston – 1991 Super Bowl
Whitney Houston’s Gulf War-era performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is everything every performance of the national anthem should be: dramatic, stirring and, above all, patriotic. We miss you, girl.