The elaborate sensation that is the superbowl is touted as the culmination of America’s dream, if you listen to the NFL-sponsored, celebrity-voiced spots that introduce the game. Only the best teams get to the championship (just ignore the season stats for those other teams with better records)and the NFL spends tons of money hyping the event. Cities spend millions trying to win the honor of hosting the game with the hopes of generating even more in tourist revenue from fans that come to watch it. The Networks spend millions on broadcasting rights and technology to bring it into everyone’s home and then charge millions in airtime for the commercials. Everyone invests huge amounts of time and energy—except, it seems, the artists who sing the national anthem. In case you didn’t hear it, Christina Aguilera messed up the anthem.
In the midst of near record breaking winter storms across the nation and government changes in the middle east, America focuses its collective attention on something much more important and socially relevant: the superbowl (if you believe the hype). Now celebrating its 45th anniversary, the NFL championship game continues to garner more and more of the nation’s otherwise short attention span each year. Where once we just watched the game and it was over in just over two hours (this was before commercial timeouts), Sunday’s exhibition took the better part of the day with programming starting at noon and continuing until almost 9 pm from the pregame show through the game and the postgame festivities. There is also the halftime show which is another matter entirely, and the commercials which have become events all their own.
With all this attention, it seems that the artist given the honor of kick-starting the event by singing the National Anthem—our nation’s song, that song that represents all that our country can be—would want to turn in a performance worthy of the honor. Most people who are called upon to speak or sing or perform or whatever would do something to make certain their performance was as good as it could be like, oh I don’t know, perhaps practice? Or how about actually learning the lyrics of the song? The National Anthem has become something of a joke at sporting events it seems because of how often it is messed up by celebrity performers.
The tradition of singing the anthem is an old one and it happens at every professional and most semi-pro sporting events, where it is sung by local singers from high schools or churches or even locals artists. Even a three-year-old turned in a spectacular performance. These renditions are almost always done right, whereas the professional singers don’t seem to get it. Perhaps they think that, because they are celebrities, they don’t need to rehearse. Christina, perhaps you should have actually rehearsed. Maybe the instead of asking some big name celeb to sing the anthem, the NFL should actually hold auditions for the job. Artists should be lining up and vying for the chance to perform this significant song.