Reba McEntire’s Super Bowl National Anthem Made Us Miss Whitney Houston on the 12th Anniversary of Her Death

Chuck Arnold


There are so many times that I, like many others around the world, miss Whitney Houston.

Every time I hear someone on “American Idol” or “The Voice” try the impossible by singing one of their songs.

Every time I listen “I want to dance with someone” in a bar or club and watch generations of women and men, both gay and straight, move and sing at the top of their lungs.

And every Grammy since I was there in Los Angeles that weekend when she surprisingly passed away, at age 48, the day before music’s biggest night, February 11, 2012.

But perhaps what I miss most about Houston is every time someone steps up to the microphone to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. Because no one has ever owned and transformed the national anthem like Whitney did when she sang it on February 12, 1991.

On Sunday night, before the Kansas City Chiefs faced the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, it was Reba McEntire who had the difficult task of living up to Houston’s monumental memory in the 12th anniversary of his death.

Reba McEntire performs the national anthem during pregame ceremonies at the start of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 11, 2024. JUAN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

And while the 68-year-old country superstar did an adequate job (she was more helpful than special), there was nothing earth-shattering on a day when it was hoped there might be some heavenly inspiration from Houston herself.

In fact, there have been others, from Luther Vandross (1997) and Mariah Carey (2002) to Beyoncé (2004) and Lady Gaga (2016), who have made Houston proud since 1991.

But today, precisely, we wanted more than what Reba had to give.

Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem before a game between the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills prior to Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. fake images

At least he was better than Post Malone, whose “America the Beautiful” probably made Houston roll over in her grave. Let’s say the guy isn’t going to win any singing contest.

At least “Rise Up” singer Andra Day, while nowhere near possessing Houston’s vaunted top vocal powers (who does?), channeled some of the gospel and jazz vibes of Houston’s national anthem of all time when he sang “Lift Every Voice and Cantar.”

On this night, in remembrance of the Greatest Voice of All, that would have to be enough.

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