Rachel Platten stumbled while attempting to sing the national anthem over the weekend. On Saturday, the “Fight Song” singer forgot the opening lyrics while performing at an NWSL soccer game between the Utah Royals and the Chicago Red Stars.
“Oh, say can you see, by the stars’ — ,” Platten sang, stopping after realizing she made a mistake. (The correct lyric is “Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.”)
A nervous-looking Platten, 36, apologized and started over. “Oh, say can you see, by the — ,” she began, before stopping again. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,” she told the crowd. “Can someone tell me the next line?”
An awkward silence followed until people in the crowd tried to help her out and started singing the correct lyrics. Platten eventually resumed — while still singing “stars’ early light” — and eventually made it through on her third attempt.
Platten has sung the national anthem before without error.
“I feel really embarrassed, honestly. I’m having a hard time forgiving myself, but I’m working on it. It was incredibly, incredibly embarrassing,” she tells People. “I’ve been trying to retrace steps of what happened … it has just been hanging over me.”
“I was so nervous going into it. The anthem is such a big deal; it’s probably the most important song for our country. I always get nervous because it means so much because it is so powerful. I always want to do it justice, do a good job and give people the exact version they expect and they want,” she explains. “I have done it a bunch of times, but I stepped in front of the people and I felt the expectation. I was ready to open up and do it, and my mind just went blank. I was trying to explain it to my husband: It was like a test that you know all the material to, you study so much and you get in there, and your mind doesn’t cooperate.”
Platten says she privately sobbed after it happened, but is trying to move on.
“My husband was so sweet, saying, ‘Rach you know people mess up all the time in their jobs. And no one really cares. Unfortunately, your job is in front of 18,000 people and they care.’ It’s a little hard to forgive myself but I’m working on it,” she adds. “I’m trying to practice what I’ve been preaching: If I’m telling my fans to love yourself no matter what, I owe myself the same thing even though it’s really hard right now. I’m human. This was a humongous and embarrassing mistake, but it was a mistake. My mind just wasn’t cooperating.”
Chalk it up to a bad day. She’s certainly not the only celebrity to flub the national anthem.
In February, Fergie issued an apology for her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the NBA All-Star Game.
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem, and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone,” the former Black Eyed Peas singer said in a statement following some social media backlash. “I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
Well, at least she got the lyrics right. Christina Aguilera seemed to combine some lines at the 2011 Super Bowl. Instead of singing “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming” she sang, “What so proudly we watched, at the twilight’s last reaming.”
Aguilera apologized and was eventually able to laugh about it. “That night I knew, I just made myself a Trivial Pursuit question. ‘In 2011 what female singer, ya know, flubbed the lyrics.’ It’s just insane,” she later told Ellen DeGeneres. “I have a really good laugh about it and you get over things. You get back up again and you just prove to yourself and to everyone that you are much stronger.”
See, Rachel Platten? Life goes on!
[Editor’s note: This post was originally published April 16, 2018 at 6:26 p.m. PT.]
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