another horrible national anthem

Jennifer Hudson sang the Star Spangled Banner before the Super Bowl. And again, I didn’t like it.

First of all, why the lip sync? I attend sporting events all the time, and having the anthem sung live works just fine. They did it live at the St. Norbert College hockey game last night. They do it live at at all the games at Lambeau Field this year. I know you’ve heard it live at sporting events yourself. So now we’ve got the greatest sporting event in the country, and all of a sudden live isn’t good enough? I don’t understand.

Second, the arrangement was new. Never done before and therefore unknown to the players and 72,000 fans in attendance. Jennifer Hudson sang her own little version of the Star Spangled Banner, in a way that no one could sing along. Shame on her.

I don’t understand why we do this. The definition of anthem is “a song of loyalty or devotion.” Why are these singers so arrogant as to think that they’re the only ones who want to show their loyalty or devotion?

I’ve sung the national anthem with my barbershop quartet at 54 different sporting events. The teams we sang for (including MLB, NBA and of course many local teams in northeast Wisconsin) gave us plenty of feedback. More importantly, many fans in attendance have shared their comments with us first hand. People like the fact that they can sing along with us, that we’re not just performing the anthem so much as we’re leading the crowd in song.

Listen folks. This is not some top 40 song that they’re singing on tour. This isn’t a cutesie version of some old pop hit on American Idol. This isn’t just one more thing that we do before sporting events, like warming up the players and announcing the starters. This is the Star Spangled Banner. Written by Francis Scott Key after seeing British ships bombard Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. Adopted by the United States as our national anthem by a congressional resolution in 1931. This is a special song. It has special meaning. Men and women have shed blood to defend our “land of the free and home of the brave.”

Let’s take the glitz out of the performance, and put back the honor, loyalty and devotion to the greatest country in the world. If we can’t do that, the it should not be part of the Super Bowl.