Most controversial national anthems delivered by a celebrity

The Colorado Rockies seen here lining up before the national anthem.

As the Super Bowl approaches, we look back at decades past where many celebrities have been regarded for their memorable performances of the national anthem – think Whitney Houston in 1991 – but there are others who did not quite make the cut.

Roseanne Barr

The “Roseanne” star’s performance is memorable because she seemed to be in on the joke but the crowd was not. The actress shrieked the words of the national anthem over the microphone as the crowd booed. After she was done, she motioned to the crowd and grabbed her crotch before spitting on the dugout. She gave the “performance” at a San Diego Padres game in 1990.

Despite the ear-piercing performance, Barr did not seem to forget the words, unlike the next celebrity.

Christina Aguilera

The pop singer with the powerful voice seemed like a perfect choice to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLV in 2011. The singer got off to a good start before she fumbled “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming?” She attempted to make up for the mistake after she belted out “And the rockets red glare.” However, her voice strained during the last note. The “Fighter” singer apologized for the flub later on.

“I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through,” she said in a statement, according to MTV.

Aguilera is not the only celebrity to apologize for their Star-Spangled Banner rendition.


Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie admitted her version of the national anthem was kind of a mess. Fergie sang the national anthem before the NBA All-Star Game in February, drawing laughs from all-star players, including Stephen Curry and Draymond Curry. The singer’s rendition featured her own notable spin on it, slowing down the tune with some light music.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly, this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best,” she told TMZ.

Like Fergie, this next singer apologized, but he apologized during his performance.

Carl Lewis

Olympic track and field champion Carl Lewis apologized during his performance after his voice went off-key. The athlete was singing the national anthem before the NBA Finals game in 1993. He appeared to get off to a good start until he sang “and the rockets red glare.” He stopped when he couldn’t hit the high notes and went “uh-oh, I’ll make up for it now” to a disappointed crowd. Spoiler alert: He didn’t make up for it.

Lewis did not hit all the notes but at least he didn’t need to write the words of the national anthem on his hand like the next performer.


Michael Bolton

The “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” singer made his less than memorable national anthem performance during a New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox ALCS game. The singer stopped singing during the line “o’er the ramparts we watched,” Time magazine reported, to peek at his hand to see what the next words were. The crowd appeared to notice the pause and reacted to the singer needing a guide to double-check the lyrics. To add on to the misery, there was a strange echo across the stadium as Bolton sang.

Bolton sang the national anthem in his signature style unlike the next performer whose over-the-top performance killed the crowd’s vibe.

Kat DeLuna

Pop singer Kat DeLuna took the field before a Dallas Cowboys game in 2008 to give her performance of the national anthem and was booed right off the stage. The singer appeared to try hard as she belted out the notes to the song but the crowd was not having it. According to Billboard, DeLuna’s career never fully recovered after she received a chorus of boos.

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