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Another Top 10 National Anthem Fails

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Ezuma
Written by Tiffany Ezuma Oh say can you please not butcher the nation’s anthem? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down Another Top 10 National Anthem Fails. For this list, we’re looking at instances where singers messed up performing either the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or Canada’s national anthem, “O Canada.” If you don’t see the particular egregious performance that’s etched in your memory, check out our original list. Got any ideas for our next video? Head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest to submit your ideas today!
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Another Top 10 National Anthem Fails

 
Oh say can you please not butcher the nation’s anthem? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down Another Top 10 National Anthem Fails.
 
For this list, we’re looking at instances where singers messed up performing either the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or Canada’s national anthem, “O Canada.” If you don’t see the particular egregious performance that’s etched in your memory, check out our original list.

#10: Josh Groban and Flea

Sometimes polar opposites come together to make something new and incredible. Other times, you get . . . whatever this was. For the 2010 BCS National Championship game, Josh Groban and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers got together to perform the national anthem. It was a strange pairing to say the least, with Josh staying committed to his operatic style of singing and Flea accompanying him on bass. Their version was slow and seemed stilted, despite a drummer kicking in to liven it up. And while it wasn’t the worst rendition we’ve ever heard it definitely left us with more questions than answers, namely: why?

 

#9: Kat DeLuna

 
Performing the anthem at a major game can be a great way for an aspiring pop star to broaden their fanbase. At least, that’s the best-case scenario if they kill it. Unfortunately for Kat DeLuna, she got her big chance to perform at a Monday Night Football game back in 2008, and most likely lost fans rather than gained new ones. She gave a very diva-fied performance of the song, complete with vocal runs and matching finger wagging. DeLuna had the confidence of Aretha Franklin but did not exactly have the vocals to back it up. The crowd wasn’t kind, and ended up booing her by the song’s end.

 

#8: Measha Brueggergosman

Sometimes you have to wonder who’s booking the talent for these performances. It’s not too often that we hear an operatic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “O Canada” at a sporting event, and that’s for good reason. At a 2012 Senators versus Penguins game, opera singer Measha Brueggergosman gave one of the most dramatic renditions of both songs when she belted them out in her full, over-the-top style. It was clear that she was a classically-trained singer but you have to know your audience. Overly drawn-out, she made it feel less like the start of a sporting event, and more like a brand of cruel and unusual punishment.

 

#7: Madison Rising

This band was doomed from the start. Before Madison Rising even began to play, the announcer at a 2014 NASCAR race introduced them as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” a big claim for anyone to make. What started off a slow but fairly run-of-the-mill rendition took on a new life when the bass kicked in and they attempted to turn the national anthem into a rollicking rock’n’roll song. Not that this hasn’t been done successfully before (Jimi Hendrix anyone?)  but this particular version was a resounding flop. Too aggressive and just tonally off, the performance was an example that sometimes it’s best to stay in your lane.

 

#6: Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler may be a rock legend but even legends have their off days. Performing the national anthem at the Indy 500, Steven started off nicely by doing a little harmonica riff before he started singing. But as soon as he opened his mouth, it went downhill pretty quickly. It was a bit too rock’n’roll and he sounded more like he was screaming rather than singing for much of the performance. Toward the end he slid into into a particularly egregious note that sounded like he was fighting off an assailant, not singing the nation’s most important song. We feel bad for all the ears in stadium that day.  


#5: Clent Bowers

There must be something truly intoxicating to a performer about just going for it when they sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Perhaps it’s some mixture of the crowd around them with the swell of patriotism that makes singers push their limits, to sometimes disastrous results. That has to explain actor Clent Bowers, who had one of the most cringe-inducing final notes in his performance of the anthem at an NBA game. Poor dude really thought he was going to hit the high note, but instead his voice cracked and warbled all over the place. But we guess, kudos to him for really committing?

 

#4: Aaron Lewis


Your eyes and ears will be forever Staind by this rendition of America’s anthem. Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of the aforementioned alterna-metal band (and now a country music crooner), went lyrically rogue at Game 5 of the 2014 World Series. You’d think such a self-consciously uber-patriot would, like, have remembered the words to the most iconic song in the country’s repertoire. But no, he dun goofed, replacing "at the twilight's last gleaming” with a wrongly-placed "were so gallantly streaming." Maybe he should have had the lyrics tattooed on his neck?


 

#3: Jesse McCartney

When you’re a professional singer, one of the lowest bars to clear is knowing the words to the song you’re performing; but time and time again, we’ve seen performers let that get the best of them. That’s exactly what happened with singer and actor, Jesse McCartney, who completely skipped a line while singing the national anthem at the 2009 NASCAR Pepsi 500. From the get-go, he seemed nervous and timid, unlike his usual stage presence. We don’t know what was going on with him but it had to be bad to completely flub it like that.


#2: Dennis KC Parks

Confidence can go a long way in selling a performance and if Dennis KC Parks brought nothing else to his rendition of “O Canada,” it was that. In 1994, the Canadian Football League tried to expand the league with new American based teams like the Las Vegas Posse. For a game against Saskatchewan, Parks, a lounge singer, was chosen to sing the opening anthems; but too bad he never listened to the Canadian song beforehand. He made it sound like the Christmas carol, “O Tannenbaum,” which stunned Canadians in the crowd. Parks became a laughingstock but two weeks later he redeemed himself by singing it correctly at another game.

#1: Fergie

It’s not that Fergie is a bad singer or even that she didn’t hit most of her notes. It’s more like . . . what the heck was she thinking? At the 2018 NBA All Star Game, for whatever reason, she decided to perform the song with a jazzy arrangement, complete with scatting. Instead of mixing it up and creating a new classic, the result was a weird, sexual rendition of the song that had players and spectators straining to keep from laughing. Her version was breathy and seductive, the polar opposite feelings the national anthem should inspire. She got roasted on social media and apologized that her performance didn’t “strike the intended tone.”
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