by Rob Joyce
The highlight of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game came on the court, just not in the way anyone expected. The 148-145 triumph by Team LeBron over Team Stephen was trumped by the entertainment before the game. Fergie sang the national anthem, and it was, well, interesting to say the least.
It garnered so much attention that the singer had to come out Monday and essentially apologize for the jazzy rendition, saying it “didn’t strike the intended tone.” Unfortunately for the former Black Eyed Pea, it will live on forever among these other poor anthem performances:
The track and field legend may have won nine Olympic gold medals in his illustrious career, but his abilities don’t extend to the musical world. He sang the anthem before an NBA game in 1993. For obvious reasons he has not been asked by anyone since to come back.
There were worse renditions, but at least none of the others butchered the words, nor did they do so in front of 100 million people. Before Super Bowl XLV, Aguilera went about 40 seconds before she misspoke and repeated the second line. To her credit, she didn’t stop, and continued along as if nothing happened and finished the song.
The singer was tabbed for a 2008 Monday Night Football game in Dallas between the Cowboys and Eagles. It wasn’t as painful as Carl Lewis’ but it certainly wasn’t a simple “sing the notes and move on” rendition either. It ended with a loud chorus of boos from the Dallas faithful, which is never a good thing.
The lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” are probably as well-known as any in the United States, for obvious reasons. And though the two-time Grammy winner didn’t technically forget the lyrics before a 2003 Red Sox game, he committed a no-no when he wrote the words on his hand and had to stop at one point to reference them.
The comedienne isn’t known for having a naturally soothing voice, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that she’s not the greatest singer in the world either. Her performance at a Padres game in 1990 is proof of that.
A general rule to singing the anthem: don’t change the lyrics. The Aerosmith lead man and his harmonica went full caricature before the 2001 Indianapolis 500, screaming and over-stylizing notes, and ending it with “and the home of the… Indianapolis 500.” In fairness, he learned his lesson, as his performance before the 2011 AFC Championship game was much more simplistic.