Christina Aguilera, oh my… what the hell were you thinking?
I will be honest, there was a time that I would listen to the US National Anthem and shed a tear every time. Not Boehner type of tears, but it welled up my patriotic feelings, thoughts of my grandfather landing on D-Day, the whole apple pie and mom thing. It would be something I would get a bit embarrassed of when I was younger and at a sporting event with my hat off, my hand on my heart, and a tear in my eye.
These days, it is a rare thing for me to have that flood of feeling during the anthem for a few reasons. There is the trend for musicians not to sing the song as written, and to try and punch it up and put their own stamp on it. They all remember what Whitney Houston did with her rendition at Super Bowl XXV in January 1991. What they don’t remember is that the strength of that performance was that it was sung straight, not overly embellished with the musical version of back flips and the moon walk.
If you have forgotten, take a look:
Over time we have seen horrific performances including piss poor singing, over embellishment, lip syncing, and most abhorrently the artists forgetting the words.
So now I tend to mute the National Anthem when watching on TV or just spend the time in line at the concession stand where I cannot hear anything but background noise. However, I was actually hopeful for something great from Aguilera so I didn’t mute the TV, didn’t turn the channel, and didn’t go off for a bathroom break. Why oh why did I not assume it would be a train wreck?
This is what happened:
I am a bit floored about this, since there are YouTube videos all over the place that show Aguilera singing the National Anthem at many different events. Having extensive experience in live performance, I am understand many things can distract a performer. I also noticed (and tweeted) that the audio engineer for at least the TV side of the Black Eye’d Peas half-time show had fucked up by leaving all but Will I Am muted for the first part of the performance and the mix was dreadful. I assume she had her usual monitor engineer giving her the mix to her in-ear monitor, but you never know in these types of situations.
Whatever it was, a professional who has 5 Grammys and has been in the business for as long as Aguilera has should be able to sing the US National Anthem without a great deal of work. Beyond flubbing the lyrics, I also noticed some missed notes (flat/sharp) and it seemed as if she backed off a few of the bigger (and higher) notes.
So once again we have a high profile National Anthem blown, but there have been much worse and ones that were not handled well or recovered from nearly as well as Aguilera did. Remember Rosanne Barr doing the National Anthem at a Padres game?
Christina, you didn’t destroy it like that but for someone whom everyone expects so much from it may have been the equivalent of it.