It’s notoriously one of the hardest songs to sing, and knowing that you’re performing it for the biggest TV audience of the year can’t help when it comes to nerves. Sometimes, just to be sure, singers pre-record the national anthem in case something goes wrong during the run-up to the kickoff of the Super Bowl. Well, that something happened on Sunday night when Christina Aguilera blew a few lines of the anthem on the football telecast.
Less than a minute into her rendition, Aguilera ran into some trouble. Instead of singing “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming” she improvised “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last reaming.” Ever the pro, Aguilera didn’t stumble and continued on, belting out the correct lyrics all the way through her 11-second-long note at the end of the song.
Eyewitnesses in Dallas told Popeater that the crowd at the game had a pretty dramatic reaction to the missed lines.
“This was the biggest performance of her career and she blew it,” an unnamed source with a VIP view said. “To mess up the lyrics was a disaster.” Another described a kind of “hush” falling over the stadium as everyone looked at each other in disbelief.
Aguilera was described as being “devastated” when she went backstage after her performance.
A short time later, the mistake began to pick up steam on Twitter and before the game was over, the singer’s Wikipedia page was updated to include details of her prime-time error. By Monday morning (February 7), in addition to copious headlines about the Green Bay Packers’ historic win, clips of Aguilera’s flub were all over the Internet.
The Grammy-winning singer released a statement soon after, saying, “I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through.”
The lyrical fumble was unusual from Aguilera, 30, who has frequently done the national anthem honors at NBA games, including at last year’s finals. “I have been performing the anthem since I was 7 years old and I must say the Super Bowl is a dream come true,” Aguilera said before the game. “I am really excited to be part of such an iconic event.”