The Star-Spangled Banner is probably the hardest of all national anthems to learn.
Let’s face it: When words like “O’er,” “ramparts” and “O say” compose part of your National Anthem, you’re going to run into some problems.
Our neighbors to the north have made it very simple, their national anthem is pretty much just “O Canada” said over and over again. How many times have you seen a YouTube video of someone messing up the Canadian national anthem’s lyrics? Never. Know why? Because it never happens!
That’s not to say we can’t learn it, most of us have it memorized and could recite it without even thinking. However, when you’re singing in front of thousands of people holding camera phones, just waiting for you to mess up, it can be nerve-wracking.
In honor of Independence Day, where most of us will not have to sing the Star-Spangled Banner (thank god!), let’s have a few laughs and take a look at the Top 5 Worst National Anthem Blunders Of All Time.
5. Christina Aguilera at Super Bowl XLV
If you watch the whole video you might not even notice the mistake(s). Christina pretty much left out an entire verse, but it’s nearly covered up by the fact that she’s singing like Aretha Franklin on steroids. If it weren’t for her A+ effort we would have ranked her higher, maybe even #1.
4. R. Kelly at the Bernard Hopkins/Jermaine Taylor rematch in 2005
Someone should have told R. Kelly he was singing the national anthem at a boxing match, not “Our God Is An Awesome God” at a gospel church. Telling the crowd to clap their hands when they’re supposed to remain silent is just disrespectful, but hilarious at the same time. Awful, just awful.
3. The Fray at the 2012 NCAA Basketball Championship Game
The Fray have become popular for masquerading elevator music as pop music for years now, and it all came to a head on April 2, 2012. As R. Kelly learned in the video above this one, you DON’T change the national anthem to fit your style. You sing the national anthem as it’s meant to be sung. This is not how it’s meant to be sung…
2. Natalie Gilbert during the 2003 NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals
I hate picking on children…but I’ll do it anyway. Young Natalie Gilbert probably practiced over and over, for hours on end before the game even started. But when it came time for the rubber to meet the road, the nerves got the best of her. Lucky for her though, head coach Maurice Cheeks saw the teen struggling and helped her out, with the crowd joining in for support as well.
1. Carl Lewis during an NBA game on January 21, 1993
Carl Lewis may have been a gold medal-winning Olympic athlete, but he’s an amateur singer — at best. He couldn’t hit the high notes, he couldn’t hit the low notes. He couldn’t hit anything. He even had to stop midway through and start over. Thankfully, Carl didn’t quit his day job.
Andrew Celani — CBS Boston