The Star Mangled Banner.
She killed it, and not in the good way.
Mike Pence wanted to take a knee in protest.
The reviews are in for Fergie’s rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All-Star game, and those were the kindest we could find. Many are saying it was the worst ever. But those people are wrong. We’re not saying it’s good, but it’s not the worst ever. It’s just the most recent.
So we’re looking at the (arguably) three worst performances of the Star Spangled Banner.
Fergie at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game
It was breathy, it was sorta seductive, it was all over the place. Listening to this felt like she was going for a hybrid of her song A Little Party Never Killed Nobody from The Great Gatsby soundtrack and Marilyn Monroe serenading President Kennedy on his birthday.
It just didn’t land.
Fergie is said to be devastated, and even issued a statement defending her effort and her patriotism saying “I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the Black Eyed Peas singer said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Good intentions aside, we believe it’s safe to scratch her off the list of possible performers to sing the anthem at the Super Bowl. And probably the halftime show too.
Carl Lewis, 1993 NBA Finals
Carl Lewis is a renown and highly honored Olympic athlete. He could still smoke you on the track even though his glory days were decades ago. But you don’t have to worry about him upstaging you at a karaoke bar.
His performance was called Francis Scott Off-Key by Charlie Steiner on ESPN. And that’s being kind. But at least Carl was self-aware. He’s able to hear himself, and when his struggles in the upper register became clear even to himself, he broke off for a moment and promised to redeem himself. That didn’t ever really happen.
Fortunately he’ll be remembered for his athletic career. Except of course when someone botches the national anthem and we compare their bad performance against his.
Roseanne Barr, San Diego Padres Baseball Game, 1990
We’re not sure why anyone was surprised how this went down. Roseanne was at the height of her fame, her show was still a hit on ABC and everyone knew exactly what she was all about: being loud, brash, and not giving a damn what other people think.
She didn’t sing the national anthem so much as she screeched it. Anything resembling a key was left on the rehearsal floor. And of course she ended it with a crotch grab and spitting, a touching nod to baseball’s finer points.
Roseanne’s not a fan of Fergie’s performance either. She tweeted “Who saw Fergie’s national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey.”
This wasn’t even a World Series or playoff game. Just a regular home game for the Padres who were probably thrilled to get an A-Lister to their game. At the time, America was embroiled in a flag burning controversy and there was talk of passing an amendment to ban desecration of Old Glory. After this there was talk of passing an amendment to burn her.
As notorious renditions of America’s National Anthem go, this is easily number one. So relax Fergie Ferg, you’re in A-List company, and at least you tried.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A Molson. Grab one and sing Oh Canada. It’s an easier song and a smooth beer.