Super Bowl XLIX: Idina Menzel Sings the National Anthem — How'd She Do?

Broadway star Idina Menzel sang the national anthem prior to kickoff at Super Bowl XLIX, her first large-scale performance since a much-critiqued appearance on Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

So, Internet: How’d she do?

“The Star Spangled Banner” — like “Let It Go,” the Frozen ballad Menzel helped make a hit — has some tricky vocal passages. As such, the spectrum of past sports-related renditions of the song ranges from angelic (like Whitney Houston’s 1991 Super Bowl opener) to god-awful (Roseanne Barr at that 1990s San Diego Padres game comes to mind): Where do you think Menzel falls?

We know the game has just started, but let the armchair quarterbacking begin! Watch the video above, grade Menzel’s performance via the poll below, then hit the comments to elaborate.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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188 Comments
  1. sara says:

    Someone needs to tell these anthem singers it isn’t all about them. Was she trying to use up the entire 3 hours??

    • Carol King says:

      I agree. Just sing the darn song!

    • At two minutes three seconds, a full 15 seconds shorter then the famed Whitney Houston version, no she was not trying to take the full three hours.

      • But Whitney Houston sounded much better, so the extra 15 seconds was well worth it.

        • cyndi says:

          didn’t like that one either. Too many vocal gymnastics

        • Me says:

          Whitney also had a band behind her. Idina did it a capella. Whitney was an amazing talent and so is Idina. People on here need to quit hating and get their butts up there and sing it. Won’t be trash talking after that, will you.

          • b c says:

            Sure, get me up there and I’ll sing it like it was written

          • Brigid says:

            I did! I sang the the National Anthem at the Philadelphia Phillies game with a few others acapella and we sang it like it was written and everyone cheered after. Idina has an amazing voice but the long drawn out breaths and the trilling made me not like her rendition. The best I ever heard was the Dixie Chicks who sang the heck out of the song and it was beautiful.

        • B says:

          Whitney’s version while fantastic was a lip synch

        • jpg says:

          And Whitney didn’t sing it live but dubbed. This was a live and excellent rendition.

        • John says:

          At least Ms. M did not lip-sync like Ms. H!

        • John says:

          Actually, Idina’s version blew Whitney’s out of the water! More power, more octaves, no lip-syncing, no vocal gymnastics like making one syllable words into fourteen syllable words.

    • Schmuckatelli, Joe says:

      Yes, that was painful. Her singing speed oscillated randomly and moronically as though she was running out of breath.

      • What? This post is nonsensical. You sound like a lunatic. I have a master’s degree in opera. You know nothing, Schmuckatelli.

      • Amanda says:

        I know nothing about singing, but I agree, she slowed down in weird parts and then emphasized notes that I had never heard focused on before. She has such a nice voice, but her version was sucky.

        • John says:

          It’s called STYLE. Again, Whitney’s version was lip-synched and, to use your “weird” analogy, she stretches single syllable words into several syllable words..ie. “I” and “you” in “I will always love you.” Not a bit like the original by Dolly Parton. But, you have a right to your opinion, just like everyone else…correct?

          • Tommy Kortman says:

            It doesn’t need to be “styled”. It’s the National Anthem. Sing it correctly please.

      • Zilch says:

        The only thing painful I see is your asinine comment. Go away…….

    • ww says:

      Well said!

    • Sil says:

      So many pauses. Stretched out for an eternity. It’s almost like the pauses were for her to remember the next lyrics or what else can I do to alter the cadence or essence of our National Anthem

    • caskett says:

      They need to sync the song with the fighter jets that fly over head. She sang it at 2 min 5 seconds because they told her to sing it at that length.

      • Dan says:

        No, they time her practice and tell the pilots to meet her mark. They do. Then she is obligated to match her practice time. Personally, I think she, with all due respect, murdered it.

    • susan says:

      Exactly!!! She was not there to try to showcase here own method of singing; she was there to pay tribute to this country and show praises for it. To show respect for our country. She failed to do this and made a disrespectful mockery of it!!!

    • Linda says:

      Perfectly said. Thought it was all about her.

    • Mlazz says:

      Exactly!!!!! Stop trying to make it special. I don’t care if she can hold a note for 5 friggin minutes. Dissapointed

  2. Mel says:

    She nailed it! She gave our anthem the respect it deserves. Brava!

  3. I never like it when a singer uses the national anthem to show off their lung capacity. I’m more concerned about this crowd, though. There’s already a screaming drunk, they hate Richard Sherman and Bill Belichick but they love soldiers and jets.

  4. Steven says:

    She actually sang live with no music. Not too many artists today round even attempt it. No track or lip sync. Doubt Katy Perry real voice will be heard

  5. Karen says:

    Beautiful voice but the anthem is not a dirge.

    • Kelley says:

      No our anthem is not a dirge, just a poem set to a British drinking song. A difficult one to sing at that. Great job, idina. Flawless!

  6. Nicole Whipple says:

    She hit the goosebump test for me!

  7. JK says:

    I wish she would have sang it full out, no breaks. It was beautiful, though.

  8. Lisa says:

    She stretched it out but it was very well done.

  9. DrFricke says:

    She did great! But fans “cheering” and “booing” of players that were shown on the big screen during the anthem was pretty low rent patriotism.

  10. She was off key and flat a certain points.

  11. jackie says:

    It was ok, little slow. I think she should of just Let it go!!!

  12. ROADY RODENBECK says:

    ONE OF THE BEST IN 49 YRS. GOD BLESS HER.

  13. Tran says:

    Kudos to Idina Menzel. Bouncing back from that lip syncing fiasco on New Year’s Eve.

  14. debra says:

    She did an awesome perforacnce. I got gooseies

  15. morgan s says:

    SHE DID AN AWFUL JOB FROM THE VERY BEGINING

    • Bob says:

      Man those that say she did a good job really what did they hear we heard the truth and my ears still hurt.

      • Zilch says:

        What–are you posting the same comment over and over to make some moronic point? My eyes are hurting from them–original you are NOT.

  16. An American says:

    The National Anthem is not a funeral dirge. She sang too slow and in trying to ‘make it her own’ altered tempos, notes, and rhythms. Listen to how our armed forces play it – with spirit, pride, and precision. Sure, she has a lovely voice, but that is all she had on this performance. I cried, but not in a good way.

  17. Jane says:

    Too slow, too much verbrato. Just sing the song as written. Love her voice though

  18. jon says:

    Terrible does the NFL not listen to the singers rehearsal. The National Anthem is not a test for lung and loudness power.

  19. Dean says:

    Better than Beyonce.

  20. Ethan says:

    That was an awesome performance by an absolutely beautiful woman.
    Oh yeah, John Legend performed well, also.
    But WOW is that a good looking woman. That may be the best Super Bowl opening ever.

  21. Ethan says:

    WOW! That was an awesome performance by an absolutely beautiful woman.
    Oh yeah, John Legend performed well, also.
    That may be the best Super Bowl opening ever.

    • Bob says:

      No Ethan no matter how many compliments you give her she will not be seeing this post and no she will not be going on a date with you.

  22. TNScooter says:

    Really? Could. She. Not. Drag. That. Out. Just. A. Little. Bit. Longer??

  23. Yeah but she’s not Whitney Houston. Derp

  24. Norma Lembach says:

    She, like many other performers, uses the anthem to show off their voice. The range in the song is enough to prove your mettle. You don’t need to go up & down the scale a hundred times to prove you can sing.

  25. Idina Menzel sang acapella and ended the song a 1/2 step higher than at the beginning. And it was all a bit wobbly. Should’ve used an accompaniment to stay in key.

  26. Shuler says:

    She did it, she nailed it. We can’t sing it anyway, so why not sing it with flair?

  27. Db says:

    I am a fan of Idina Menzel but I do believe it is disrespectful to show off while singing our National Anthem. This is one song that should be sing the way it was written.

    • Gopher45 says:

      You said it all.
      When you think of the lyrics written about a military victory, it doesn’t come out they way she sang it.

      Unbelievable, how many popular singers can slaughter our national anthem.
      Just sing it the way it was written, and sell your other songs another time.

  28. Raychel says:

    Why change the flow of the song?! Just sing it how it’s meant to be… don’t take a long pause and then sing the next line way too fast. No one can follow you.

  29. There’s a difference between singing a song and trying to make it your own. She selfishly ruined our nations anthem. I thought I heard booing and cannot blame those who paid a ridiculous sum to see a game started by this garbage. F.a.c.e.p.a.l.m.

  30. Paul Gunther says:

    Sing the song like it was written not with all these elongated notes!

  31. Carol says:

    Idina rocked it. It was just beautiful.

  32. marlene says:

    Would have been nice if she hadn’t sang “that our flag was still theres instead of there”

  33. Deborah says:

    I enjoy when the NATIONAL ANTHEM IS DONE WITH A HIGH SOPRANO RANGE.

  34. Carol says:

    Idina rocked it. It was so beautiful!

    • Bob says:

      Definitely wonder what the NFL was thinking when they made there decision to have her sing the National Anthem. Seriously my ears still hurt.

    • Jill says:

      My husband, the ultimate critic of National Anthem singers, said Idina’s performance is, very possibly, the best he’s heard!
      That’s quite a complement, Idina!
      I am already a fan and had goosebumps!

      • Bill says:

        With all due respect, your husband could not possible be a trained singer. Those of us who do it for a living or have done session work are often amazed that someone with so many pitch, breathing, intonation and technique issues is singing above the community theater level. Cringeworthy comes to mind.

    • Bob says:

      News flash guys she did,t nail it

  35. fangsmcwolf says:

    I want to know why they (those singing the National Anthem) always have to put some sort of a ‘twist’ on the song, as though they are trying to make it their own style, like it’s going to be the ultimate rendition of the song that will become the new norm of the song and as though no one else would ever dare try to change it after that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can understand trying to put a different spin on it once in awhile, but every year I tune in, hoping to hear it sung in the traditional way with a talented voice, only to hear it being brutally destroyed because the artist is trying to sing it as though they wrote the song and it’s their number one hit. If they want to put a twist on it, then change the sound (not the notes) a little bit. Like an electric guitar sound or something, with it otherwise being the same as we’re used to.

    In short, don’t change the style of the singing. If anything, toy with the style of the music. I’m sure that would get tons of praise. Use Sophia Nadder as an example of how to do it. She’s sung the National Anthem at many events and she is VERY talented, even having been on the news for it.

  36. cyndi says:

    I absolutely hate it when “stars” use their artistic interpretation when singing the National Anthem. It should be sung exactly as it is written.

  37. steltz05 says:

    she got the lyrics wrong. she sounded great but if you can’t get the lyrics right what good is it

  38. Jill says:

    My husband, the ultimate critic of National Anthem singers, said Idina’s performance is, very possibly, the best he’s heard!
    That’s quite a complement, Idina!
    I am already a fan and had goosebumps!

    • Bob says:

      I really don,t know what people saw in her performance that really blew them away. Seriously that was the worst National Anthem I’ve ever heard from a professional artist. The only reason I can assume the NFL even requested her is because the popularity of Frozen but other than that no one would had known who she was.

      • Kristin says:

        No one knows who she is? Apparently the Broadway community and fans of the tv show Glee and the musicals Wicked and Rent are nobodies.Don’t be so ignorant Bob!

  39. Teary says:

    she is so over rated

  40. Yuck says:

    She should have refrained from doing riffs extra notes.

  41. kate'shomesick says:

    Technically speaking it was pretty bad. I’m not trying to be mean or anything but she had intonation problems throughout the entire song, it was nasal and her belt very shrill (too much vibrato and twang), she’s using her lower jaw to compensate for faulty tongue positioning and her breath support is never really on point so that she ends up pushing instead of just supporting.

    • Carla Krae says:

      Thank you! I’ve seen that from her repeatedly. She pushes from her throat too much and her tongue is rarely in the right place. Things you learn and would be corrected in 1st year voice lessons.

    • Bill says:

      Kate, I am convinced that the masses just don’t hear pitch and technique issues with some singers. I need an aspirin after hearing her sing. It is very grating to my ears. I have no idea how she has gotten the jobs she has, or made the personal appearances she has. Such cringeosity, I say!

  42. A concerned citizen says:

    I’m sorry but once again a tremendous singer embarrasses herself by messing up the words. I really think that we should treat our national anthem with a different level of respect. All these singers that want to show off their pipes should do that with other songs. The national anthem has lyrics (that are important) and has a melody (that doesn’t need to be improvised upon).

  43. Bob says:

    I really don,t know what people saw in her performance that really blew them away. Seriously that was the worst National Anthem I’ve ever heard from a professional artist. The only reason I can assume the NFL even requested her is because the popularity of Frozen but other than that no one would had known who she was.

    • No. perhaps you are tone deaf. Hey you sling mud, you’re likely to receive mud…and we have not even heard you sing yet

    • Zilch says:

      Well, gosh BOB, how fortunate we all are to read your ridiculous comments overandoverandoverandover–because, obviously you are the world’s best critic of all that is music and must repeat yourself for the stupid people here. Seriously, you are just the most annoying–not the most knowledge.

  44. Ivelisse Rivera says:

    Simply outstanding performance by Idina Menzel:)

    Great Job and John Legend, always awesome!!!

  45. Don Adams says:

    Tha national anthem is best sung with correct lyrics, perfect pitch and in tempo. Two out of three is not too bad.

  46. ww says:

    Just sing the song as it was written!

  47. Too slow without much energy.

  48. Patrick says:

    Scott is rolling over in his grave. Awful no worse than awful. Hope to never hear her sing afain

  49. CTZ says:

    Just sing the beautiful song. I don’t like all the theatrics!