In rehearsals for her performance at Super Bowl XLV, Christina Aguilera appeared so confident in her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that she abruptly stopped three-quarters of the way through the song, seemingly content with her preparation for the live broadcast.
The pop star had no trouble getting through the section of the song which tripped her up in front of a worldwide audience, nailing the line "o'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming." Yet she abruptly stopped the rehearsal soon after, walking off the field with a self-assured nod of the head after singing "the bombs bursting in air."
TMZ has the leaked video (which includes some chatter from the women who filmed it):
Even in rehearsals, Aguilera gives a magnificent vocal performance. Had she made it through the real thing without the error, her rendition may have gone down with Whitney Houston's 1991 performance as the best in Super Bowl history. Instead, it will be remembered in infamy, all because of a simple mistake.
Listen to the Super Bowl performance again. Her voice effortlessly soars. Frankly, it's amazing she was able to recover after flubbing the lines. A lesser singer wouldn't have been able to continue.
The next day, Aguilera explained the problem.
"I lost my place. I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."
She may have still messed up the words if she had run through the full performance in rehearsal, but stopping early couldn't have helped her prepare for the real thing. There's a reason theater productions run full dress rehearsals and bands play songs all the way through at soundchecks. Each part of the performance builds off what comes before and after.
On Tuesday, Aguilera received an invitation to sing the national anthem at a minor league baseball game in Brooklyn later this year. It's doubtful the mega-star will go from Super Bowl to minor league baseball, but who knows. If she does, count on a little longer rehearsal this time around.