Rock star Steven Tyler might be a world-famous rock-n-roll singer but his fame credentials have been called into question as a judge on the FOX reality television show American Idol. Why? Because of his live rendition of the National Anthem at the AFC championship football game. While the teams were getting ready to battle on the field to help determine which team was headed to the Super Bowl, fans and players were shocked rather than amused by how creative the lead singer of the classic rock band Aerosmith got with the tune. Can he still cut it as a live music performer?
Aerosmith frontman and American Idol judge Steven Tyler has been one of the most talked about rock stars in modern music history. But it was not a new song from the rock band or a new solo tune he’s released that has the internet buzzing. Tyler’s singing of the National Anthem ‘rock ballad style’ at the Sunday January 22nd’s AFC Championship football game had football fans and music critics wondering if he’s hosting the reality television style music competition because the rock music legend’s voice and on stage antics are no longer epic. Is he a reality TV judge now because as a performer he can’t cut it?
Internet reviews of Steven Tyler’s performance at the ball game on Sunday have been brutal. If he was the quarterback of the American Idol rec league football team, bloggers and critics sacked him and would have knocked him out cold they were so mean with their critiques.
What’s more, they all seemed to drive home their point that Tyler’s singing was lame at best. Writers from all types of blogs ranging from entertainment news sources to sports websites that talk about celebrity athletes have plagued the American Idol judge with criticism. Asking questions like, “Is his rendition the worst in recent history” and, “How bad was his national anthem rendition?” they all pointed their fingers at one thing…
Fame and fortune are not always linked with talent in the music industry.
As musicians age and generational preferences change, what was cool to Baby Boomers or even Gen X might annoy Gen Y completely. But watch the video and decide for yourself. He even managed to mess up the lyrics a little bit said Us Weekly magazine — arguably worse that pop music singer Christina Aguilera did while performing at a sports event before her recent meltdown last year.
Historically speaking, though, Steven Tyler might actually deserve a little bit of a break. Criticism of rock stars and their personal renditions of the Star Spangled Banner are nothing new to the world of pop culture. In the one of the most famous examples Jimi Hendrix played a high-powered electric guitar rendition of the National Anthem at Woodstock back in 1969.
Underscoring the generation gap of the 1960s, some saw Jimi Hendrix’s version of the Star Spangled Banner as blasphemy. Others saw it as one of the most amazing legendary performances of Woodstock.
So, while Steve Tyler’s version of the Star Spangled Banner most likely won’t make it to the legendary song status of a Jimmy Hendrix rendition at Woodstock, his version might end up being remembered historically. With any luck, people will remember his tune as being crooned more like a rock ballad than a screeching Rosanne Barr. She is still famous for wrecking the National Anthem a million years ago in front of a huge crowd; her career suffered after she butchered it at a baseball game, too.
[Granted, no one in their right mind should have hired her to sing the patriotic tune -- but hiring Steven Tyler to do it now might have been a bad decision, too.]
With all the thousands of times the song is sung throughout the year at sporting event and special occasions, the tough “pitchy” song gets butchered often no matter what music genre singers specialize in…
Tyler’s version hardly deserves all the criticism he has received for that very reason. Tyler sounded like what you would expect a flamboyant 63-year-old rock star who likes to scream would sound like. Plus, he wore the red, white, and blue glitter scarf to show his patriotism while he cheered for the New England Patriots to beat the Baltimore Ravens, too.
He has been a fan favorite singer in his home area of Boston — near where the game was held at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. We like him because Steven Tyler is known for giving back to the Boston area poor, where he has donated heavily and volunteered to make the holidays a little brighter by supporting the local Feed Kids Now campaign. They like him because he is an all-American classic home town boy who made good in Hollywood.
Because he is such a colorful guy and seems to be all heart (especially since he sobered up and has mellowed out), it’s important to remember that music tastes are very subjective — and music itself is an art. People take a lot of pride in the symbolism of our National Anthem, so many people often hope a singer will sing it in a clear, traditional way. For that reason, not every version of a song meets the expectation of a million amateur music critics (especially when a song pitch or creative lyric embellishment has been thrown their way).
For that reason, keep on rocking Steven Tyler (and congrats on getting engaged over the Christmas holidays, too). There are still a few old guys and girls out here who think your radical rendition of the classic American song was great. As long as someone does not try to make you sing at the next Super Bowl game or run it as an American Idol television commercial, your gig as a credible judge on the reality television show will be safe.
What do you think? Did Steven Tyler’s Anthem rock or should the American Idol judge continue to catch flack for it? Let other readers know your thoughts in the comments section below.