The Pittsburgh Steelers were ultimately defeated in last night’s Super Bowl game against the Green Bay Packers, but it was poor Christina Aguilera who took the real thrashing. The woman incurred the wrath of patriots and music fans alike when she flubbed our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. It is a notoriously difficult song, tripping up seasoned professionals and phenomenal young talent alike. In Christina’s case, she changed the wording of two lines, totally leaving out the bit about ramparts. I saw videos of her performance, as I’m sure the whole country has by now. After a couple of days, people will forgive her and remember that she attempted it respectfully, unlike a certain sitcom mom who grabbed her crotch and spat.
In the end, I don’t think it’s fair to expect ANYONE to surpass what Whitney Houston did at the Super Bowl in 1991. Good HEAVENS, that woman is blessed with a strong, distinctive, expressive, silvery, vibrant—and to most other singers in her peak—threatening. It is beyond words. Or was, if you are scrutinizing her post-recovery performances. I’m rooting for Whitney to regain her former glory. Even if she never, ever sings in concert or records another album, I just want her to be well again.
Hubby once told me that when Whitney Houston burst onto the pop music scene, he didn’t take her seriously as a singer, because she was too pretty. OK, Mr, Cynical. Ms. Houston woman KILLED this song. Twice. She set the high mark that others have to aim for, if they want to be remembered for performing it at all.
Jennifer Hudson did that, coming a very, very close third (see below) in my eyes, because she gave the song a completely different quality and expression that will also be very hard for anyone to match. Beyonce—as much as I respect her—gets an honorable mention. Mariah Carey tore the roof off an arena when she performed it at an NBA game, but beyond that, I don’t remember any other performances of the Star-Spangled Banner. But I’m open to listening.
Oh, and for those who say Whitney’s Super Bowl rendition was pre-recorded, here is a video of a live performance during a concert to welcome home troops. Still massively impressive, and I think this version takes second.
So let Christina live this one down, America. Whitney owns this song and until another miraculous voice comes along, very little can be done about it. And you know what? I’ll set the example by not even posting links to any story, video or other content documenting her very human mistake.