Let’s just get this out of the way first: Whitney Houston’s national anthem before Super Bowl XXV is the greatest performance of The Star Spangled Banner ever at the big game (and maybe in sports, and perhaps even beyond that). It’s the GOAT, the best of the best, whatever you want to call it.
So that begs the question: What if we take Houston’s singing out of the equation? Who would be among the greats? Here’s our take on the other 10 best:
10. Natalie Cole
Her Super Bowl XXVIII rendition builds and builds and builds … and explodes.
9. Kelly Clarkson
It’s not just her vocals – the arrangement, with the drumline and chorus, gives it a unique spin.
8. Jordin Sparks
Pretty cool that she got to sing it in 2008 in front of the New York Giants, the team her father Phillippi played for.
7. The combined armed forces academy choruses
Once the horns kick in from the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, it takes the 2005 anthem to a whole new level.
6. Luther Vandross
He was a legend, and a s we know from One Shining Moment, Vandross + sports = gold. His Super Bowl XXXI anthem was beautiful.
5. Carrie Underwood
Simple, straightforward and every note was perfect.
Between what she’s done during the halftime show and before the game in 2008, she should be in the Super Bowl Performers Hall of Fame, which should totally exist.
3. Mariah Carey
No surprise that her 2002 anthem ends up here, mostly because she hits her iconic whistle-toned high note on “the land of the free.”
2. Jennifer Hudson
Super Bowl XLIII got off to an amazing start thanks to Hudson’s gorgeous rendition.
1. Lady Gaga
Call it recency bias,…
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