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The Worst Renditions of the National Anthem

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ross-merrill - September 1, 2016

Between baseball games, the Olympics, and the presidential election, we've heard the National Anthem a whole lot these past few months. Usually it's performed with dignity or style, or sometimes even both. Sometimes they are...not.

Here are some of the worst versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," sung at actual events and captured on video. Watch and you'll almost hear the Statue of Liberty crying.

Harper Gruzins

The trouble was evident right there in her introduction: "Please welcome 11-year-old singer/songwriter..." Huh? Harper couldn't even find the right note to start with, so her first "O" climbs up and down and lets you know this version is going to be awful. The expression on the MLS players are priceless -- they give no pity to a child who goes flat and stretches out every word like she's Mariah Carey.

Michael Bolton

It's not only 11-year-old amateurs that screw up the "Banner." Singing at a baseball game, Bolton was the victim of a sound delay that played his words back to him a few seconds later, totally throwing him off -- and he doesn't seem to be wearing an earpiece. Eventually, he just pauses to let the sound delay catch up, and the crowd gets testy. But he recovers and knocks the finish out of the park, using that Michael Bolton magic.

Tennessee Cop

No ballgame here. Police were gathered in Chattanooga for a memorial for a fallen comrade. The service started with this officer singing an incredibly screwed-up version of the Anthem, filled with misplaced words and nonsense words, even though the cop appears to be reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper. "That the stars were still there" is one of my favorite lines. The cop even manages to botch the final word! Afterwards, no one one claps or cheers. You have to see this to believe it.

Canadian Woman 

The arena announcer didn't give her name, which is probably for the best. This Canadian was tasked with singing the American anthem at what looks like a Toronto Maple Leafs game. She forgets the lyrics almost immediately, so she starts again. And forgets the lyrics at the same part. She says "Sorry" both times (you know, Canadians). Finally, she leaves the ice and comes back with the lyrics. But she doesn't get the chance to sing them, because she slips on the ice and falls flat on her back.

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis: 10-time Olympic medalist, one-and-never-again-time patriotic singer. He sang the "Banner" before a Nets-Bulls basketball game. You know there's trouble by how long, and how many notes, his first "O" covers. His voice just completely breaks when he gets to "rockets' red glare," and he interjects "Uh oh. I'll make up for it now," by a big finale, which he doesn't deliver. Michael Jordan can't stop laughing and neither can the ESPN commentators covering this fiasco. 

Scott Stapp

Yes, that's Scott Stapp, the voice of Creed, so you know you're in for a...what's the opposite of "treat"? Stapp's phlegmatic baritone growl commits the ultimate act of treason by turning the National Anthem into a Creed song. He's also not big into consonants, so the words run together like mush. Reason #52,174 to hate Creed.

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