The Super Bowl is finally here and the performers are set to deliver their performances for one of the biggest audiences in the world. Lady Gaga is the headliner for the halftime show and cast members from the Broadway show “Hamilton” will be singing “America The Beautiful.” As for the National Anthem, country artist Luke Bryan will be singing “The Star Spangled Banner” just ahead of the game kick-off and Kriston Lee Pumphrey will be performing the song in American Sign Language. Luke Bryan is known for his hit songs including “Drink a Beer,” “Crash My Party,” and “That’s My Kind of Night.” He is also great buddies with fellow country star Blake Shelton and the two have even hosted awards shows together.
Now, Luke Bryan is taking on the Super Bowl. Get to know more about Bryan and his Super Bowl gig below.
1. He Was Highly Criticized After Performing The National Anthem At the 2012 MLB All-Star Game
In 2012, Luke Bryan had some problems when he performed the National Anthem at the MLB All-Star Game. Fans noticed during his performance that he had a cheat sheet written on his hand. He remembered the incident in an interview with Rolling Stone, where he said:
I had just written down ‘streaming’ and ‘gleaming’ because for some reason during rehearsals I kept jumbling those up. Then I started psyching myself out on it. I thought I did a great job on the Anthem, but the unfortunate thing was people saw me checking those two words. I learned from it, and you know, I’m just gonna walk out there and sing it and go from there.
After his performance, Bryan issued a public apology on Twitter, saying:
I had a few keys words written down to insure myself that I wouldn’t mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart … If I offended anyone with my approach I sincerely apologize. Anytime I sing the anthem it is an honor and my heart beats out of my chest.
Some fans tweeted that they felt Bryan was unpatriotic because of the incident and he was also criticized for looking at his watch during the performance.
2. Bryan & His Family Are Rooting For The Falcons to Win the Super Bowl
Luke Bryan and is family don’t seem phased about getting on the bad sides of Patriots fans as he and his father are big Falcons fans. Bryan dished to Rolling Stone that:
Every year, a lot of people want to ask me, ‘Who are you pulling for?'”I would always dodge the question and try to stay pretty neutral because I would have fans in both markets. But I gotta step out there and say I’m pulling for my [Atlanta] Falcons this year.
Bryan also spoke with ABC about rooting for the Falcons, stating that:
The irony in this is I agreed to do the anthem well before the Falcons got on their post-season roll. I’m like, ‘Come on, Falcons, you can do this!’ So I’m cheering for two reasons, because I can have the opportunity to do the anthem … and … my dad’s one of the biggest Falcons fans that I’ve ever met.
Hopefully Bryan can escape boos from Patriots fans at the game.
3. For His Super Bowl Performance, Bryan Hopes to Bring Some Creativity
In an interview with ABC, Bryan said that he wants to bring some creativity to the table with his performance, explaining:
It’s a big moment for me and I’m excited to get out there and hopefully put my stamp on it.
Bryan is determined to not let his nerves get the best of him, telling Rolling Stone:
You have to not think about what’s going on outside of the stadium. It’s almost like, [you] do an unbelievable job for the people in the stadium and then it’ll turn into that. It’s only a little over two minutes long. Get up there and do what I’ve always loved to do: sing for people. And try to take it at that – don’t overthink it.
4. Singing At the Super Bowl Is Not a Career Move For Bryan
Many performers use the Super Bowl as a platform for their careers as it is a great way to get major publicity. Lady Gaga is definitely jumping on this, announcing the plans for her Joanne World Tour tomorrow, the day after the Super Bowl. As for Luke Bryan, his focus is just performing. He explained to ABC:
I’m not really thinking about it in what it can do for my career. I just hope that when I walk off that stage, people go, ‘Man, he really did a great job capturing the anthem,’ and ‘He really surprised us.’ I hope people go, ‘Wow, we didn’t really think he had that in him.’
When Bryan first started out in his career, he was writing music for other country artists.
5. Bryan Has Been Watching Past Performers Over the Years For Inspiration
Past performers at the Super Bowl have tried to put their own spin on the National Anthem, while others have stuck to the script, out of respect for tradition. In an interview with ABC News, Bryan talked about how he’s been studying up on past performers in order to figure out his own interpretation of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Bryan explained:
Through this process, I’ve kinda gone back through the years and watched how people approached the anthem and just tried to figure out in my mind how I wanted to approach it.
Last year, Lady Gaga performed the National Anthem and this year, she is the headliner. Bryan said he thought Gaga did an “amazing job” last year and he hopes to execute the performance well, following suit.