For three years in a row, Super Bowl LVII has been graced by the voices of some top country singers – from Mickey Guyton in 2022 to Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan’s duet last year. But with Chris Stapleton taking center stage this time around, he proved that country is not his only forte; true fans already knew how great he was at classic blues too!.
No one has been able to successfully evoke such powerful emotions with their rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” like Stapleton did. His unique, raw take on the song made it possible for cameras to capture some incredibly moving reactions from game participants. All eyes were on Eagles lineman Jason Kelce, who was visibly struggling not to cry and coach Nick Sirianni who seemed overwhelmed by emotion and unable to contain his feelings.
Chris Stapleton’s solitary presence at center field with just a Fender Telecaster, an amp and some monitors was the epitome of American individualism. This proved to be a stark contrast from the team-centered atmosphere set by Rihanna’s pre-game performance. Although many renditions of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ have been performed over time, Stapleton managed to deliver something raw and personal that could not help but stand out amongst all other versions.
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2023
The two musical performances prior to the kickoff were a stark contrast. Babyface was even more subdued than Stapleton, strumming his guitar with an American flag emblazoned on it while singing the softest rendition of “America The Beautiful” you will ever hear – thus creating a peaceful version patriotism. Additionally, he had pre-recorded background music that accentuated his performance.
Sheryl Lee Ralph gave a passionate and moving rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” even marching in place during the performance. As she sang, Stapleton and Babyface stood by her side wearing black clothes while Ralph stunned with her vibrant red train behind her on the white platform – an ensemble that made sure to remain unbiased towards either team at this year’s Super Bowl! Without doubt, it was one of the most stylish performances seen in recent history.
For the 3rd consecutive year, “Lift Every Voice” was performed before kickoff at a major NFL game as part of its musical triple play. This had been going on for years prior to that, but this time some right-wing voices seemed surprised by it – more than likely because Fox News made such a huge deal out of what should simply have been an enjoyable performance. Thankfully though – regardless of anyone’s opinion about it – Lift Every Voice has now become an integral and accepted tradition in pregame show lineup!
The conservative Kevin Sorbo labeled the performance of the song “racist” towards whites, while Lauren Boebert tweeted her thoughts on it: “America only has ONE NATIONAL ANTHEM. Why is the NFL trying to divide us by playing multiple!? Do football, not wokeness.” It appears that if this act of criticism was applicable for Key’s work, Boebert would have detested “America the Beautiful” too since its presence overshadowed his masterpiece.
Rihanna’s halftime performance may receive mixed reviews, but the pre-game music was generally well received by non-troll America – largely due to Stapleton’s flair of uniting people with his version of the National Anthem as if it were a product from an iconic American Black music artform.
It’s amazing that guitars still have a place in the pop music world. From Eric Church and H.E.R.’s riveting performances to Babyface and Stapleton’s recent epic show, it looks like they’ll be making their way back into Super Bowl halftime shows every year – regardless of what challenges they may face!