3 of the Worst National Anthem Super Bowl Performances

Singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl is one of the most coveted performances an artist can have. But it’s no easy feat. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is known as one of the hardest songs to perform due to its complicated lyrics and wide range. Plus, there are usually millions of people tuned into the show who quickly turn hostile when things go wrong.

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of stars pull it off — from Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey to Beyoncé and Demi Lovato. But others weren’t so lucky. Here are three of the worst national anthem Super Bowl performances in the history of the event.

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera at the 2011 Super Bowl in Texas | Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America

Aretha Franklin, Aaron Neville, & Dr. John‘s national anthem performance failed to impress viewers

People expected big things when it was announced that these three would perform at the 2006 Super Bowl. But when the time rolled around, some were left unsatisfied.

A lot of it has to do with differences in their performing styles and the unusual musical arrangement. But for what it’s worth, there were a few people in the audience that seemed pretty into it.

As one of the top and most successful singers of the 2000s, Christina Aguilera had fans beyond excited for her performance at the 2011 Super Bowl. But it also didn’t live up to the hype. While she sounded amazing, she totally flubbed some of the lyrics. When she was supposed to sing, “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?” she instead said, “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming.”

Amid the ensuing backlash, Aguilera issued a statement shared with The Guardian in which she said: “I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through.”

Jewel’s cover of the national anthem got off to a rocky start

Lots of singers have been able to mask the fact that they’re lip-syncing, but not this time. When Jewel took the stage at the 1998 Super Bowl, the words “Oh say” came before her mouth seemed to move.

Fortunately, she quickly caught on and got on cue. But she didn’t seem comfortable, standing with her hands behind her back and shifting back and forth on her feet before awkwardly throwing her hand over her heart.

Still, she finished the performance to roaring applause. However, Jewel continues to receive criticism for the apparent blunder at the top of the showcase.

Jewel at Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, California in 1998 | Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America

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But whether you liked them or not, there’s no doubt that these performances will never be forgotten. Stay tuned to see who takes on “The Star-Spangled Banner” at future Super Bowls!