By now you've heard about Christina Aguilera's vocal malfunction at the Super Bowl last night. Midway through her a cappella rendering of our hallowed national anthem, she completely flubbed the lines, "O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming." Evidently she was caught up in the moment or whatever and forgot the words. An embarrassing gaffe to be sure. Even so, there's been worse renditions, including one by Xtina herself, in which she manages to be even more histrionic than usual (if you can imagine that). Click through to see the top five worst anthem performances.
05. Christina Aguilera
At the NBA All-Star Game in 2004, Christina Aguilera didn't have any trouble with the words to the national anthem (well, unless you count the fact that she mangles the annunciation of "hailed" into what sounds like "house" and the way she stretches "thru" to "thah-roooo"), but here her vocal embellishments (don't miss the smug "hah" after the "streaming" line) are beyond grating. And the whole thing is only made more unbearable by the inexplicable drumming (?) that accompanies her.
04. Michael Bolton
Michael Bolton firmly secured his place in the Ass Clown Hall of Fame with this one. By forgetting the words to the song just a few bars in and having to consult the notes scribbled hastily on his hand, he makes Christina Aguilera's flub look like a slight oversight. Good thing nobody asked him to sing the other three verses, eh? We could give the guy the benefit of a doubt and just go ahead and assume that he was disoriented by the echo slap back in the stadium and simply lost his place, but it seems entirely more plausible that Bolton really is an ass clown.
03. R. Kelly
R. Kelly is clearly immortal. He must be. Either that, or he made some sort of deal with the devil. I mean, how else can you explain how he gets away with with the ostentatious shit he pulls? Getting caught (allegedly) tinkling on a minor, being charged and then getting exonerated? Or how about that utterly preposterous "Trapped In a Closet" video saga? It's truly dumbfounding. Here he gussies up our hallowed national anthem as only he can with a smooth jazz gospel rendering, complete with a hand clap interlude. Dude really can do whatever the hell he wants, can't he?
02. Hillary Clinton
Okay, it's kind of cheap to include our esteemed Secretary of State of this list, particularly since she wasn't actually commissioned by any professional sports organization sing the tune at a high profile sporting event viewed worldwide, nor is she known for having a propensity to carry a tune. Just the same, if the next performance wasn't so abhorrently horrendous, she would've easily topped the list. Here she's caught unaware singing along to the "Star Spangled Banner" by a live microphone that she didn't know was capturing her tone deaf mutterings.
01. Carl Lewis
Oh, Carl Lewis. Just when it seemed like no one on earth could possibly be worse at the whole singing the national anthem thing than Roseanne Barr, along comes Frederick Carlton Lewis to claim the title for the all-time worst-ever rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." This shit is so bad, we're surprised that the Olympic Committee hasn't demanded Lewis's Olympic medals back on behalf of the United States. Uh-oh is right, man! Wow!
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.