Monday, February 7, 2011

For those of you who live under a rock or are blissfully TV free like me and didn't realize, there was kind of a big event on Sunday night.  The Overeat Junk Foot Until You Can't Stand Bowl (called the Super Bowl in some circles) was held on Sunday, and as is tradition, a popular singer was enlisted to sing the "Star Spangled Banner."

For Sunday's show, the singer was the incredibly-voiced Christina Aguilera.  Here's what you need to know about me.  I like Christina Aguilera's voice.  I like it a lot.  She does things with her voice I could only dream of doing.  Her skill at vocal improvisation is beyond belief.  Say what you will about her clothing, her spray tan, or her choice of music video themes.  The woman can sing.  I've always felt annoyed that Aguilera has been compared to Britney Spears throughout her entire career even though she has actual talent and the ability to sing actual notes as opposed to Spears, who grunts semi-melodically, autotunes it, and calls it a day.

So, here's Aguilera's rendition of the national anthem.

Did you hear the mistake?  My husband didn't.  I probably wouldn't have.  But the media?  They heard it and they jumped on it like a pack of rabid dogs who've come upon a wounded rabbit wrapped in bacon.  Christina accidentally repeated "twilight's last gleaming," and even though there's a war on, there's an impending crisis in Egypt, and we still have the highest unemployment rate in decades, that little flub made national news.

It seems in the eyes of the press, professional is somehow supposed to equal perfection.  If you're being paid for it, you'd better not mess it up.  That's something amateurs do.  According to one newspaper columnist, "You can't screw up the National Anthem."  I have one word for him and every other writer who has jumped on the story: editor.

It's easy for professional writers to expect perfection when they have an army of editors and copyeditors behind them, fixing their every mistake before their writing goes live.  I know this.  I had 3 editors at The Spectrum in my 9 years with them.  I'm now an editor at  My job is to fix the completely understandable mistakes of human beings so the copy looks professional and so other human beings don't make fun of them.

Newsflash to the news: Live performances don't have editors.  Human beings are not robots.  I know a lot of singers sound like robots these days, but Christina Aguilera is not one of them.

You're thinking of Britney. (AGAIN!)


Anonymous said...

The problem isn't that she messed up a song. The problem is that she messed up the National Anthem. Sure, people do make mistakes. However, if you are an American singer, that should be a mistake you never make.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Christina uses auto tune. Come on, you can't really be THAT naive to think that she is any better than the other so called pop princesses.

Sarah Clark said...

Anonymous Poster 1 (If that's really your name...) A quick check of YouTube will tell you that many, many Americans have made that mistake. Being an American does not make a singer infallible, no matter what song he or she is singing. Patriotism is no match for a big case of the nerves or a temporary lapse in memory. It happens.

Anonymous poster 2 (Are you just Anonymous poster 1 coming back to comment again? Aw...feeling the love!) I can be THAT naive about a lot of things. It's my right as an American and as a humorist and as a human and as a person who likes the word naive. However, my opinion on Ms. Aguilera's singing has nothing to with naivete. It has to do with preference, which is where opinions come from.