Any singer will tell you; the U.S. National Anthem is one of the trickiest songs to get right for any performer. What also makes it a challenge is the fact that it’s our nation that’s being represented and a bad anthem performance can be a career killer if they can’t quite pull off any liberties they take with the way the song is traditionally sung. Who can forget Roseanne Barr’s ear-piercing butchering of the anthem at a San Diego Padres’ game in 1990? The pre- YouTube and social media world were shocked and disgusted by her performance; however, there have been plenty of cringe-worthy National Anthem performances. Here are 10 ear-splitting renditions you will find hard to believe.
It is probably not surprising that celebrities want to place their own mark on the anthem but it really just cries out for a simple, heartfelt, uplifting and with a solemnity befitting the event. Great anthems at sporting events have been that fine combination of solemn and rousing with a great flair at the end to set the right tone for kick off or tip off, the drop of the puck or first pitch.
Fergie: 2018 NBA All Star Game
We think this was supposed to be sultry and sexy, but it came off as strained and just strange. Roseanne Barr even, tweeted, “Who saw Fergie’s national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey.”
Victoria Zarlenga USA vs Scotland in Jacksonville, FL May 2012 – 10 Cringe-Worthy National Anthem Performances
If you haven’t heard of singer Victoria Zarlenga, this performance may be a big reason behind that. This one is tough to get through.
Cuba Gooding Sr. 2008
Yes, that is the father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr. You can’t fault for Mr. Gooding’s commitment to his performance and his ability to improvise lyrics, choreography tempo!
Micheal Bolton at the 2003 ALCS at Fenway Park – 10 Cringe-Worthy National Anthem Performances
Michael Bolton is a really good singer, but even the greatest singers need to remember the words to the anthem before stepping out in front of a stadium full of people. Like the pro that he is though, it appears Bolton has the lyrics written in the palm of his hand just in case.
Carl Lewis at a Bulls/Knicks Game in 1993
Carl Lewis won an amazing 9 Olympic gold medals in track and field for the USA during his career–an incredible achievement in sports. His post-athletics singing career was cut short after Michael Jordan, then the world, heard this.
Mike Eli 2010 Broncos/Chiefs Game – 10 Cringe-Worthy National Anthem Performances
Country singer Mike Eli of the Eli Young Band starts off ok, but then misses the lyrics, starts over and then hears it from the fans in Arrowhead Stadium.
Christina Aguilera Super Bowl 45
This is another great singer tripped up by not rehearsing or memorizing the lyrics or something. “I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through,” Aguilera said after the anthem fallout.
Alexis Normand Canadian Hockey Game 2013 – 10 Cringe-Worthy National Anthem Performances
As French-Canadian singer Alexis Normand begins to forget the lyrics, she makes up an entirely new language filling in the space where the proper words would go. The crowd did not appreciate it.
Clent Bowers Home of the Brave!
Give actor Client Bowers credit for trying but if you can’t hold a note, it’s better just to shorten it and move on.
Rosanne Barr, 1990 – 10 Cringe-Worthy National Anthem Performances
No anthem countdown would be complete without Roseanne’s rendition which then President George Bush called, “disgraceful.”