What’s So Hard in the National Anthem?

Steven Tyler copped a fair share of criticism last week after making a hash of the American National Anthem. The Aerosmith front man rendered “The Star Spangled Banner” ahead of the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots in the AFC. The supposed reason for such wide-spread criticism was his inability to hit the right high tones and gobbling up some of the lyrics.

This is not the first instance where a popular celebrity has been picked apart for their rendition of the National Anthem. Erica Chase, a popular recording artist does admit the difficulty in the song when she says, “difficult would be an understatement.” She goes on to add that the song has intervals where it goes from a lower note to a higher note pretty rapidly. Add to that, the fact these celebrities are used to performing their own tracks with their own bands and performing the National Anthem, puts them out of their comfort zone.

Tyler joins an ever-growing list of stars that have been critiqued for their performance of the National Anthem. Christina Aguilera was all at sea, when she performed during the Super Bowl last year. She forgot one of the lines from the song and ended up singing the same phrase twice, providing enough fodder for the critics. Cyndi Lauper sang a botched up version at the U.S Open in 2011. Michael Bolton too forgot the lyrics during his performance before the 2003 match-up between the Red Sox and the Yankees; luckily he had some written notes that bailed him out. Roseanne Barr did such a poor job that she even made it to the ‘Top 10 Worst National-Anthem Renditions’ compiled by TIME magazine.

The question that arises is that should celebs even be singing the national anthem in the first place? Coming back to the difficulty part, not everybody toes the same line, Franklin Rodriguez, an audio engineering instructor believes it’s the unfamiliarity with the lyrics that make it a problem for celebrities rather than the song being challenging.

All eyes and ears now shift to Kelly Clarkson, a previous American Idol winner who will be performing this Sunday at the match between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Let’s hope she breaks the trend and does proper justice to the song, which it deserves.

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