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Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Butchers National Anthem, Gets Flayed Online


You did want to miss this thing. Aerosmith frontman and American Idol judge Steven Tyler squawked his way through a labored, rock-style rendition of the National Anthem yesterday before the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens for a ticket to the Super Bowl, and for our fellow professional typists sitting at home, the jokes wrote themselves. “Pitchy, dawg.” “He most definitely would not have made it to the next round of the show.” “Star-Mangled Banner.” “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” “Emergency brake of a voice.” OK, that last description was actually pretty great.

For those of us watching in real time and not then being forced to come up with pseudo-witty instant reactions, the performance just sounded like … well, Steven Tyler singing the national anthem. Squawking is what he does! What, just because the guy gets paid to give opinions on a televised singing show, you think he ought to be able to sing like Kristin Chenoweth, who delivered the anthem a few hours later in San Francisco (and actually got booed by the hometown 49ers fans, apparently because the big screen at Candlestick Park showed members of the eventually victorious New York Giants?). This is a dude who in October had to go to the emergency room because he fell down in his hotel bathroom. And the crowd in Massachusetts, where Tyler and Aerosmith (like the J. Geils Band) are hailed as native sons, didn’t seem to care, giving hearty applause. After all, he is our most durable rock star alive.

Who are the big winners here? Well, for one, there’s Lana Del Rey, who’s no longer the most recent singer to have her vocal abilities receive overheated online criticism on a Monday morning. And there’s also fellow recent Saturday Night Live musical guest Kelly Clarkson, who now has an even lower bar to clear when she belts out the anthem in two weeks at the Super Bowl.

Still the loser is Christina Aguilera, whose lyrics-mangling “Star Spangled Banner” at last year’s NFL championship game garnered a new round of citations for its insurmountable awfulness. Aguilera . and 49ers fans. Losing an NFC Championship Game to the Giants on a fumble? Ah, the horrible flashbacks!