"The Star-Spangled Banner," it has been said, is one of the more difficult songs to perform well under any circumstance. When you add degrees of difficulty such as a big venue, an important event and a vast TV audience watching at home, it only compounds the challenge.
And, boy, country music star Luke Bryan was not up to it Tuesday night at Major League Baseball's All-Star game in Kansas City. Not only was Bryan's singing flat and uninspired, but cameras caught him checking his hand for lyrical reminders, along with his watch for the time, as he plodded along for two excruciating minutes.
Bryan's performance was so bad, he apologized by making a series of statements via Twitter on Wednesday:
Morning everyone. I really wanna explain the national anthem performance from last night.
I had a few keys words written down to insure myself that I wouldn't mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart.
If I offended anyone with my approach I sincerely apologize. Anytime I sing the anthem it is an honor and my heart beats out of my chest.
I did check my watch because I knew the stealth bomber would fly over 2 minutes in and I knew a started a little late.
Being a part of the all star game was amazing and I look forward to the next time I can perform the anthem. Thanks y'all. Love ya
The next time. The next time? No way. In the name of Enrico Pallazzo, no more singing at baseball games for you, buddy. In case you missed it, here's the horror show in the City of Fountains:
A country musician who needs a cheat sheet for the national anthem is not a very good country musician. That part of the music industry trades in patriotic imagery. Feeds off it. Shamelessly sucks it dry, sometimes (Toby Keith). And Bryan, supposedly the best country music can offer these days, has to jot down the words? And he calls himself a baseball fan, too. They play the song every time there's a game, Luke. When's the last time he went to a ballpark? Is Luke Bryan really American? And when is he going to apologize for not having a last name?
An aside: The whole "If I offended anyone, I apologize" thing: Clown apology, bro.
The deal with checking his watch was just dumb panic. You can't sing faster than a B-1 Bomber can fly, Luke. Bryan. Whatever. It would have been better if you just let the engines drown out the performance. (Adding sonic booms would have been helpful as well, you pilots.)
It was a three-person race to find who had the worst outing at Kauffman Stadium: Robinson Cano in the Home Run Derby on Monday, Justin Verlander in the first inning of the game, or Bryan just before the first pitch. Even professionals can have a bad day. At least we can assume Cano and Verlander came prepared.
So, which would be the more appropriate course of action here? Locking up Bryan Luke in a Nashville basement and making him practice the anthem over and over, with his hands tied behind his back, until he gets it right? Not only does it violate the Geneva Conventions, it wouldn't be fair to whomever has to watch and listen to him.
It's for the best — safer, more humane — if we just ban good ol' Luke from ever singing the anthem at a sporting event ever again. Even NASCAR. And let's be real, here: Hank Williams and Johnny Cash already are spinning in their graves over how bankrupt country music is. Guys like Luke Bryan can't even hold Merle Haggard's beer.
The upside: Someone ought to be able to write a pretty good country tune about how sorry Luke Bryan was at (and about) his woeful All-Star anthem.