February 04, 2014

Renee Fleming crushes my #SuperBowl hopes

Even more than the showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, even more than the showdown between Peyton Manning and what a win would mean for his legacy, there was one other thing that piqued my attention (even if a late afternoon nap had me miss it and much of the first half).

That was glorious-voiced, and lovely looking, if I may, Renee Fleming, singing the National Anthem.

"Finally!" I thought. "We'll get it sung right at a major sporting event."

Er, not zackly.



Fleming didn't fully butcher "The Star Spangled Banner," unlike the typical big-time sports event singer, tis true, but she did about one-third maul it. I had hoped that she would just, you know, sing it like it's written.

If you can't clock it in under 2 minutes flat, on the time, you blew it. That's my baseline for doing it right, like a pitcher having a 110 ERA+ or a batter a 110 OPS+ to get real consideration for the Hall of Fame. If you can't sing it straight up (if you're sober, since it was originally a drinking song tune) without all sorts of hitches and adornments, you blew it.

Fleming didn't have as much of that as your typical rock, rap, rhythm and blues, country, pop, or imitation Slim Whitman star, but she had enough of that to have blown it.

When I heard the first syllables on YouTube, I knew my hopes had been sadly crushed. And, I didn't care for the "reverb" chorus behind her, either. That hurt the clock time a bit. She might have completed the 2-minute drill correctly as far as flat time, if not for that, but it would have had enough issues otherwise to be a one-fifth mauling. 

And, if the military chorus reverb was her idea, she gets a ding for that, too.

She chose the octave jump at the end. I assume she chose the "soulifying" in the opening phrase. Just like someone from the pop world, I'm sure she had at least some degree of control over presentation.

I do salute her for not lip-synching, even if it seems that the cold sapped her lungs, and tone, both a bit. And, I do salute the idea.

I don't salute ...

Well, I don't salute the "dumbing down," or equivalent thereof.

Sorry, Renee, but you blew it.

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