The Ten Worst National Anthem Performances In Sports History

I’ve never exactly been sure why but the national anthem of the respective participating nations are traditionally played before major games. Often, these performances are very good and pass by without a batted eyelash. Then, there are those performances that make you wish you were deaf.

In honour of yesterday’s abomination of a performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Steven Tyler, here’s our list of the ten worst national anthem performances at a sporting event of all-time.

#10 Christina Aguilera


Let’s face it, Christina Aguilera has changed her image so many times that I’m not sure if which Christina Aguilera she is now… Okay, she’s drunk Christina. I think she was trying to channel pin-up Christina here but drunk Christina showed up. She missed a complete line near the beginning. To make up for it, she overdid the rest of the anthem and ended up turning the song from the national anthem to a Christina Aguilera song. There’s nothing wrong with putting your own spin on a song but she overdid it by the end.

#9 Scott Stapp


Putting your own spin on a song is okay if you can sing. Anybody that’s ever listened to Creed knows that Scott Stapp isn’t much of a singer as a growler. And he growls through his own version of the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner. From the first line, it’s clear that he thinks he’s singing Higher and the whole anthem suffers for it. But this isn’t the worst NASCAR anthem on the list.

#8 Steven Tyler


Well, I couldn’t very well deem him the reason to run the list without actually putting him on the list. Okay, he could only get as high as #8 but at least I made a fresh list. TSN will have their generic anthem list on tonight which won’t have been updated for the last three years. Anyway, Tyler performs a slow, screaming, off-key a capella version of the anthem here. He was probably only saved from a riot because he was wearing that ostentatious Pats scarf.

#7 R. Kelly


I could be wrong but I don’t see how hip-hopifying the national anthem would go over well at all. It wasn’t performed badly as a hip-hop song. It’s just that R. Kelly tried turning the national anthem into his own intellectual property which completely defeats the purpose of opening a sporting event with the national anthem.

#6 Saving Abel


There’s a little bit of personal bias in getting this one on the list. I was actually at the 2010 Carfax 400 where Saving Abel performed this anthem. The guy next to me was doubled over in laughter by the end. And we were all cheering during the pyrotechnics in order to drown out the singing. We all knew we were part of history that day. I’m just doing my part to immortalize this.

#5 Kat DeLuna


Never heard of her? She won a couple of Latin music awards in 2007 and 2008. Then, she performed the national anthem at Cowboys Stadium, the crowd turned on her and her career was effectively over. She tried so hard to put in a memorable performance that she managed to pull it off. She just did it in the exact opposite way of what she intended. Her voice is cracking (likely from trying to sing in too low a key), she overdoes damn well near every line and she generally sounds fake rather than genuine while singing it.

#4 Falling Over Woman


Either we’ve all forgotten this woman’s name or it’s been deliberately erased from all records to protect her from embarrassment. Anyway, during the 2002 World Cup of Hockey, she was drafted in to sing the national anthems in both English and French (presumably because the game was in Montreal). She forgets the lyrics trice and then falls down when coming back with the lyrics. I believe that’s called adding injury to insult.

#3 Dennis K.C. Parks


Parks, credited here as Greg Bartholomew (I assume he changed his name so he could safely travel into Canada) was a Las Vegas lounge singer who got the call to sing Oh Canada prior to the first CFL game in Vegas. It’s clear he was just winging it because he was closer to singing Oh Christmas Tree than Oh Canada.

#2 Carl Lewis


Fun fact: Carl Lewis was the 10th round draft pick (208th overall) of the Chicago Bulls in 1984. He never played in the NBA but he was pretty well-off anyway with his nine Olympic gold medals. However, it was abundantly clear after this that Lewis was a runner and jumper and not a singer. He was out of tune, couldn’t hit the notes and forgot lyrics. He even got Michael Jordan to crack up which given His Airness’ focus was quite an achievement.

#1 Roseanne Barr


I don’t know what the Padres were expecting here. The comedienne with a shrill voice who had no singing experience was drafted in to sing the national anthem at a baseball game with legendarily infamous results. This is the type of singing that would make you wish you were deaf. And, of course, it was topped off with the spit at the end. She already spat all over the Star Spangled Banner with that performance. The spit at the end was redundant.

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