Defending Christina Aguilera’s Performance of the Star-Spangled Banner
To hear people talking about Christina Aguilera screwing up a line in the national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner) while singing at the Superbowl, one would think she walked out on stage long enough to urinate on the American flag, wiped her ass with a page from the Bible, and gave everyone the finger while goose-stepping off the stage to the tune of Horst-Wessel Lied. That’s not how I remember her performance. In fact, I’ll even confess that I enjoyed hearing her sing it.
Our society enjoys nothing more than bitterly lambasting others for their failures. Celebrity tabloids exist solely for the purpose of publishing poorly supported rumors and catching famous people in embarrassing photos. Political news now revolves largely around politicians saying the nastiest things they possibly can about members of the opposing political party. But in Christina Aguilera’s case, we aren’t talking about corrupt politicians, evil dictators, serial killers, or even Randian objectivists. We’re talking about a great singer who slipped up on one phrase in a song. Had it not been for that one mistake, people would be talking about what a talented and patriotic singer she is. Instead, people who didn’t even know she made a mistake until someone else pointed it out to them are ready to have Christina Aguilera shipped to Guantanamo Bay.
In a live performance, you don’t get to say “oops.” You don’t get to back up and do the line again. If you miss a word, you just have to cover the mistake as best you can and press on. It doesn’t mean she didn’t know the words. She has performed the national anthem beautifully at many sporting events over the years ever since she was a child, so that obviously wasn’t the problem. Screwing up doesn’t make her evil, it just make her human.
It would be interesting to see just how badly most of Aguilera’s critics would perform if given the opportunity to sing at the Superbowl. Most people would choke on their own tongues merely trying to say their names, let along sing the Star Spangled Banner to a crowd that size. While you may consider yourself a good singer after the time you nailed “Sweet Caroline” at the karaoke bar, I’m pretty sure that a professional football stadium is a tougher place to sing.
Christina Aguilera is one of the most talented singers of her generation, and I suspect she feels pretty embarrassed over her rookie mistake. But it was just a mistake, and it shouldn’t mar the career of a great performer. The people who are calling her unpatriotic are making too big an issue out of this, and need to go back to playing their video games. When Christina Aguilera made a mistake in the song, she covered her mistake as best as she could and moved on. It is time for everyone else to move on too.