Nine 'Star-Spangled' Renditions That Will Make You Want To Join the Enemy
Movieline wants to wish everyone a very Happy Fourth of July Weekend. We'll not be posting tomorrow -- save for Part 5 of our Sundance Labs series -- but will be back on Monday ... with a very special surprise! (No hints, sorry.) In the meantime, we thought we'd celebrate America's birthday with something of a listy standby: a round-up of terrible, weird, and generally noteworthy performances of "The Star-Spangled Banner." We've eliminated some of the clichés from the regular rotation of greatest patriotic, ear-raping hits (sorry, Roseanne), and thrown in a couple of curveballs.
9. Jessica Simpson, AT&T National Golf Tournament, 2009
The newest addition to this trove of anti-classics comes from embattled chili-off judge and Vanity Fair cover girl Jessica Simpson, burping out a strenuous take in a body-hugging, horizontally-striped dress.
8. R. Kelly, Bernard Hopkins-Jermain Taylor, 2005
The noted king of smoov R&B and American Girl Place loiterer's re-envisioning asks this fight crowd to "clap your hands, y'all."
7. Michael Bolton, Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park, 2003
Considerably less smoov was Bolton's mid-song lyric blank, for which he paused then stared into his cupped palm, eliciting a loud chorus of audience jeering. One of the most infamous flubs of all time.
6. Kat DeLuna, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles NFL Game, 2008
The Bronx-born Dominican pop star's ridiculous runs were pitchy dawg, as the loudly booing stadium crowd let her know.
5. The Finnish screaming men's choir, 2006.
Only slightly more aggro than Jessica Simpson's take was this avant-garde curiosity from a choir consisting of Finnish weekend headbangers harboring residual resentment against the country that took the gold from then in 1980's Miracle on Ice.
4. Steve Tyler, Indianapolis 500, 2007.
Steve: "Annddd the -- skooodeledooobledeeebap! -- hooooome ... of theeeee ... Indianapolisfivehundreeeeeeed!"
Audience: Dead silence.
3. Robert Downey Jr., Heart and Souls, 1993.
RobDo plays a guy who can see four victims of a bus crash who are stuck on Earth until they attend to unfinished business. What's more important is that he sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" backed by the legendary B.B. King. Who'da though such a rich baritone could come out of such a pretty package?
2. Carl Lewis, NBA game, 1993.
Second only to Roseanne Barr's as the most shameful public celebrity performance of the song, like, ever, it literally features the only use of the words "uh-oh" between its tortured squelches.
1. Leslie Nielsen, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, 1988.
As the real Enrico Palazzo lay tied up in a dressing room, Lt. Frank Drebin courageously put his own life in danger as he sang about those "buncha bombs in the air," thereby saving the life of the Queen of England. One of our finest moments.
Happy Fourth, everyone!