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Not every Super Bowl delivers an excellent national anthem performance. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Super Bowl is known for bringing together the best athletes and performers. From Aaron Donald executing a perfect play to Lady Gaga delivering one of the best halftime performances ever, there’s plenty to leave you speechless. But sometimes, even the best of the best have a bad day and can’t hit the high notes, giving us a lackluster rendition of the national anthem. This year's Super Bowl LVIII will have Reba McEntire performing the National Anthem, but we have high hopes since she's a country music legend and a vocal coach on “The Voice.” For now, let's walk down memory lane as we revisit some of the worst Super Bowl national anthem performances.

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Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin, and Dr. John — Super Bowl XL (2006)

As the saying goes, two is company, and three is a crowd. The talented singers who performed the national anthem at Super Bowl XL are known to be great in their own right, but together created a weird mix that was overpacked. The anthem is a solemn experience, different from the kind of collaborative project that enlists multiple performers. What made it even worse was that Aretha didn’t have her time in the spotlight.

Everyone knows the woman could sing for her life — so it was doubly confusing that they paired her not with one but two other performers. The unintended effect hindered them all, and the hovering chorus didn’t improve things. 2006 was a good reminder that sometimes less is more: No disrespect to the gentlemen, but we really only wanted Aretha.

Harry Connick Jr. — Super Bowl XXVI (1992)

If you thought singing off-tune was bad, wait until you hear about the disruption that occurred at Super Bowl XXVI.

Harry Connick Jr. sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl back in 1992 — a courageous decision considering the great Whitney Houston sang the previous year. While Connick’s singing was the best it could be, considering the footsteps he was following, his performance caused quite a headache.

And then there was this: Thurman Thomas, the running back for the Buffalo Bills, put his helmet down on the sideline. Someone from Connick’s team accidentally lost it when they moved it ahead of the performance, causing the football star to miss several plays until someone tracked down the helmet. Why he couldn’t wear a replacement is a mystery to us, but we venture to say football teams now ensure they have enough backup helmets for everyone.

Alicia Keys — Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

Alicia Keys is one of the most distinguished singers of her generation. She has a beautiful voice that commands stage presence and the range to sing just about anything. So when it was announced that she’d be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in 2013, she seemed like an excellent pick that promised to deliver an outstanding performance.

We were all excited when we saw her on the field with a piano. However, her rendition of the anthem ended up being quite the disappointment — not because she couldn’t sing but rather because she sang a little too much. She slowed the song down to almost three full minutes, making it one of the longest and most boring national anthem performances at any event. Sorry Alicia, but we wanted you to pick up the tempo.

Christina Aguilera — Super Bowl XLV (2011)

Christina Aguilera is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated singers of all time. We were excited when she came out of unofficial retirement to perform at the Super Bowl in 2011. But what happened next was a surprise.

Maybe she was rusty, or maybe she got a bad case of stage fright. Whatever the case, X-Tina somehow forgot the lyrics to the national anthem. Instead of singing “Over the ramparts, we watched” she seemed to sing “What so proudly we washed,” which had some spectators scratching their heads.

Truth be told, we probably wouldn’t have noticed. Let's be honest: Many of us don’t know the full lyrics of the anthem to begin with. However, the singer called more attention to herself when she grew visibly embarrassed and flustered, rushing through the rest of the song and not quite getting the ending right. Rumor has it the NFL decided to display the lyrics during the performances in subsequent years because of this incident.

Charley Pride — Super Bowl VIII (1974)

Christina Aguilera isn’t the only artist in the history of the Super Bowl to stumble with the words. Charley Pride also managed to royally screw up the lyrics back in 1974. Unlike the others in the same category, the poor man didn’t even make it past the opening lines: Somehow, this talented singer and performer didn’t know the start of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

To make matters worse, his performance struggled with technical difficulties, and most of the recordings of his rendition are hard on the ears. Maybe we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was getting poor feedback on his earpiece, and he knew the words all along.

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