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Music News

Fergie performs the US National Anthem during the NBA All-Star Game 2018 at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Christina Aguilera attends Game Seven of the NBA playoff finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010 NBA Playoff at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Demi Lovato performs the national anthem prior to Game Four of the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field on October 31, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the National Anthem of the United States. To celebrate their victory over British forces during the War of 1812, US soldiers raised a large American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1814. Poet Francis Scott Key was inspired by seeing the flag after witnessing the fort’s bombardment and wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” This eventually became the Star-Spangled Banner and the United States of America’s National Anthem. Set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London, this became the version that we know today.

Musicians over the years have honored our nation’s National Anthem by singing it at sporting events, Presidential Inaugurations and other major events. Requiring a wide vocal range, it is known for being very difficult to sing. Professional and amateur singers have been known to forget the words, which is one reason the song is sometimes pre-recorded and lip-synced. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today. Many artists have done it justice, with a few performances being lack-luster or overly done. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was first recognized for official use by the U.S. Navy in 1889. On March 3, 1931, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution making the song the official national anthem of the United States.

See how we ranked eight performances done by pop stars over the years below in celebration of the Fourth of July.

  • 9. Fergie, 2018

    One of the worst renditions of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” This is so hilariously cringe. We did not expect Fergie to be this bad. You can skim through any part of this performance and find yourself shuddering or laughing at her singing or the reactions from the basketball players.

  • 8. Beyonce, 2013

    Beyonce has performed the National Anthem a few times. Though her voice is flawless, her performances are a little bit lackluster. It’s quite slow and in the moments her voice is powerful, we don’t feel that energy while watching her sing.

  • 7. Kelly Clarkson, 2011

    Fresh off her 2010 American Idol win, Clarkson performed the National Anthem before Game 3 of the 2010 World Series. This performance was a great rendition that helped to launch her post-Idol career.

  • 6. Backstreet Boys, 2008

    The Backstreet Boys had a really creative acapella rendition during this 2008 performance at the start of Game 1 of the World Series. They harmonized beautifully as a quartet, and though their microphones popped a few times during this performance, that didn’t take away from their singing power.

  • 5. Christina Aguilera, 2010

    X-Tina showed off her powerful voice while performing at the NBA Finals in 2010. The screaming crowd couldn’t get enough of it. The woman sure can hold a note and then some!

  • 4. Cher, 1999

    We loved this diva’s rendition of the National Anthem. She started it out in her signature deep voice, but as she continued singing, her voice gained power. It made for a touching, powerful performance that you can see the crowd and the players were moved by.

  • 3. Lady Gaga, 2016

    Gaga showed off her vocal chops with her rendition of the National Anthem during her 2016 Super Bowl 50 performance. Starting off in a light, dainty voice, the musician’s powerful voice pushed through in perfect moments, giving us so much drama.

  • 2. Demi Lovato, 2015

    This is Lovato’s rawest performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The musician didn’t overdo the song in this acapella rendition before Game 4 of the World Series, paying humble respect to the National Anthem. She gave us chills.

  • 1. Whitney Houston, 1991

    Not everyone remembers who played in Super Bowl XXV, but everyone who watched the game remembers this rendition, which has become the gold standard. There have been many great versions, but none are as good as this one.

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