Home / Music & Arts / Idina Menzel kicks-off Super Bowl with ‘Spangled Banner’

Idina Menzel kicks-off Super Bowl with ‘Spangled Banner’

Recording artist Idina Menzel performs the national anthem before Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium.Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports Recording artist Idina Menzel performs the national anthem before Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Idina Menzel took a rare, and daring, step with her latest take on the “Spangled Banner.”

At Sunday’s Super Bowl in Phoenix, she delivered it acapella, a move last attempted by Carrie Underwood at a big game five years ago.

Unfortunately, Menzel lacks the beauty Underwood’s voice has – a quality which the country singer used to shade the anthem’s natural bombast. As usual, the Broadway star brought a more angular tone to her take. She could have used more sweet to balance out the tart.

Certainly, Menzel’s rendition on Sunday didn’t want for physical power. In her run at this war-horse, the star proved yet again she has the lungs of death, with an ability to sustain notes second to none. But her over-deliberate phrasing made the already weighty piece clunk. In her past versions of the touchstone, delivered at various games and events, Menzel smoothed things with more graceful arrangements.

True, it’s rare for a singer to so vividly evoke the “bombs bursting in air” lyric. But, in so doing, Menzel’s version may well have left some eardrums shuddering in surrender.

John Legend delivered a far more graceful take on “America The Beautiful.” The song, which preceded Menzel’s anthem, found Legend embracing the notes with a certain suave, as he accompanied himself on piano. While the star put some gospel punch into his performance, his forte remains his pop warmth. That quality helped provide a sweet corrective to Menzel’s shout.

John Legend accompanied himself on the piano during his Super Bowl performance.Christian Petersen/Getty Images John Legend accompanied himself on the piano during his Super Bowl performance.

jfarber@nydailynews.com

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Music & Arts – NY Daily News

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