Nashville prides itself on being something of a music city. Predators games are filled with wanna-be country music stars, actual country music stars and players’ wives who have won more than a dozen Grammy awards. They are indeed a music city — The Music City, even — but their first two attempts at Stanley Cup Final National Anthems were, to be kind, poor.
Martina McBride sang the anthem before Game 3, and while she is an amazing singer and has done the anthem at major sporting events before, this week’s performance was nowhere near her best. It may have been her worst.
The reaction was not kind to McBride — more like Martina Meh-bride, amirite? — so Nashville rebounded by having “longtime season ticket holder” Dierks Bentley butcher the living hell out of the Star Spangled Banner.
The Penguins, of course, will come back in Game 5 with longtime goodguy Jeff Jimerson, who has sang the anthem throughout the playoffs. Jimerson is a local notable but — if we’re being honest — he’s not a very good singer.
He’s bad. He’s a bad singer.
Jeff Jimerson is a bad singer, folks. This isn’t really up for debate. And before you fire off angry pro-Jimerson emails and tweets, be mindful that he’s the guy who sings the National Anthem (badly). It’s not like I’m ripping Sidney Crosby for being a complainer despite getting every call or pointing out how lame all the “dad” jokes are about Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz.
Jimerson is an institution in Pittsburgh. The Incline newsroom was pissed at me for just for suggesting this article. Fine. Jimerson is goshdarn likeable. He’s like Mister Rogers … if he could sing half as good as Mister Rogers. Or work with puppets.
Deep down, you all know I’m right. Certainly the team knows. The Penguins introduce the anthem by inviting the crowd to sing “together with one voice,” insofar as 20,000 can drown out one average singer with a microphone and sound pretty good as a group.
But this is the Stanley Cup Final, folks. Even if you like Jimerson’s “he’s one of us” folksy nature, we can all agree there are more prominent options to showcase local artists. We don’t?
Let’s say Pittsburgh hero Jeff Jimerson comes down with a nasty case of laryngitis this week and after much debate as to whether or not it’s worth even playing the National Anthem at all — or, hell, even the game — the city rallies around him and, with reluctance, seeks a different voice.
The series is tied 2-2, but the Penguins have a great opportunity to take an advantage into Game 5 with a kickass anthem. Here’s a list of Jimer-less options that would instill some real Pittsburgh pride on the rest of the country.
Okay, sure, Aguilera hasn’t had a great history with the anthem and big sporting events lately, but she’s clearly the best singer to ever come from the area, and she could be game for some anthem redemption. Plus, The Voice is on NBC, and so is the Stanley Cup Final, so it’s a natural tie-in. Aren’t you tired of all the love Carrie Underwood is getting? She’s from Oklahoma. Aguilera is obviously the first choice.
No, Moore isn’t from Pittsburgh. She’s from New Hampshire and got her start in Orlando. But This is Us is super popular these days, and her connection to the Pittsburgh area has been cemented. Also, for what it’s worth, it’s an NBC show. If there’s ever an adopted daughter to get the crowd going, it could be Moore.
Okay, I did some Googling and I could not find any version of Wiz Khalifa doing the National Anthem. But this is an anthem … of sorts. Oh, it’s NSFW, by the way. We maybe should have put that above the video. Sorry about that.
She’s obviously done the song in front of a crowd before, though the sellout for Game 5 might be the biggest audience she’s performed in front of this year. Zing!
Are we looking for Grammy-award winners to perform? What about one who has already performed Penguins games? Move over Jimerson. Daya’s available. (She’s available, right? Or is Jimerson just doing the games because everyone else already said no?)
Did you know, the guy who wrote and performed the sappy songs on Grey’s Anatomy is from Pittsburgh? There’s no video I could find of William Fitzsimmons singing the National Anthem, but I’d have to imagine playing live in front of millions of people on TV would be a McDream come true.
Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips
Fun Fact: I saw the Flaming Lips in 1994 or 1995 just outside Philly and they were terrible. No, Jeff Jimerson wasn’t singing for them, but Wayne Coyne was. And he’s from Pittsburgh!
Remember Rusted Root? The super popular-at-one-time jam band that did such songs as the one embedded right above these words? Well, I couldn’t find anything on them singing the National Anthem either, but I did find this YouTube of a presumably drunk fan singing it after one of their concerts. Fireworks! America!
Did the Rusted Root reference make you nostalgic for ’90s local music? How about we go back a few years? What’s Shanice doing? The answer is nothing.
Did you know: George Benson is still alive. And he’s still playing that smooth, smooth jazz to, presumably, adoring fans. That’s reason enough to bring the Pittsburgh legend out for a run at the Anthem.
Okay, this last one is a bit out of left field, yes. But if we’re dipping into the nostalgic acts of Pittsburgh’s past, why not punk rock group Anti-Flag? They’re touring the country this summer on the Vans Warped Tour. Topical and different enough to get everyone to stop talking about Dierks Bentley for quite a while.