The video: Yesterday's Super Bowl started with a fumble... before kickoff. Singing the national anthem in front of a 100,000-plus crowd in Dallas, and more than 100 million TV viewers, Christina Aguilera bungled the lyrics. (View clip below.) When she came to the fourth line — "o'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming" — the pop star accidentally crooned "what so proudly we watched at the twilight's last reaming," much to the crowd's dismay. "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place," an apologetic Aguilera later said in a statement. "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."
The reaction: It was an "atrocious... epic failure," say ESPN hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, as quoted in the Orlando Sentinel. No matter how well you sing, said Greenberg, "if you get the words wrong, it's irrelevant." Cut Aguilera some slack, says Lucy Jones in The Telegraph. "Does anyone know The Star-Spangled Banner well enough to clock the mistake without reading a news report?" Besides, was her crime any worse than the Black Eyed Peas "abysmal" halftime performance? And let's be honest here, says Alexandra Petri in The Washington Post: "Anyone who even casually glances at our national anthem cannot escape the conclusion that it is in no way, how shall I put this, singable." If anyone botched the anthem, it's Francis Scott Key, its "terrible" songwriter. Listen for yourself: