I was ready to hate Christina Aguilera's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XLV. The gold standard for singing the national anthem at a Super Bowl and emoting it is Whitney Houston's performance during Operation Desert Storm, and I wasn't sure that the big-voiced Aguilera, often prone to over-emoting, could match Houston's efforts. So I watched what you'll see on this video with trepidation.
But Aguilera did a very nice job with the singing of song, even if she stretched it out, mostly in terms of pitch. Her "wave," "free," and "brave" all spanned a little more than one syllable, and she went low repeatedly to give the anthem a bit more richness. She didn't milk it nearly as much as she could have, though — she sang it in 1:54, meaning that particular Super Bowl prop bet was a push — and that was a nice relief.
Unfortunately, though, she screwed up four words — one line — by repeating "what so proudly we hailed". So I'd say that Aguilera's performance gets an A for musicality and a C+ for execution; average that out, and it's a solid B.
There aren't many great vocalists in contemporary top 40 music. What Christina Aguilera proved by singing the Super Bowl XLV national anthem as well as she did — never mind the mix-up in the lyrics — was that there's at least one left. Let's just hope she remembers all the words when next she is asked to do something like this.
Video via @bubbaprog.