In the moments leading up to the kickoff of a historic game, no matter the outcome, all eyes were on Luke Bryan, who stood on a stage at the 50-yard line before Super Bowl LI, ready to honor America and perform our National Anthem.
He soaked in the moment, took a deep breath and began singing “The Star Spangled Banner” with no backing music.
In the days leading up to his performance, Bryan spoke with the Ty, Kelly, and Chuck morning radio show and gave fans an idea of what to expect from his performance.
“I’m gonna walk out there with me and a microphone,” Bryan said. “[In regard to practicing] I’ve just been singing it a lot. There’s 10 ways to do it—there’s the tender way, there’s the confident way, there’s the patriotic way. I fly out [to Houston] a couple of days early so I get to rehearse it a lot. I’m going to get up there and get the microphone in hand and just run a couple of different options and see how I want it. And then there’s always an element to where you want to feed off the moment and the pageantry of where I’m at.”
He also revealed that he would “keep a paper bag in [his] back pocket for hyperventilation or vomiting.” Besides trying not to vomit, Bryan told Rolling Stone that his goal was to “just really, really do a great job singing the anthem and try to honor the country as best I can, and honor our veterans“.
He became the sixth country music singer ever to sing the National Anthem before the biggest football game of the year. Charley Pride (1974), Garth Brooks (1993), Faith Hill (2000), The Dixie Chicks (2003), and Carrie Underwood (2010) have all previously taken the Super Bowl stage to sing our nation’s anthem.
Bryan performed the song a cappella for thousands at the stadium and millions more at home just like he promised, with only a microphone. He kept his rendition simple and classic, and received rave reviews, especially from his peers.
See some of their reactions below.
That @LukeBryanOnline fella nailed the anthem! Well done my friend!
— Brett Eldredge (@bretteldredge) February 6, 2017
And @LukeBryanOnline with that solid National Anthem! Well done sir!!
— Cassadee Pope (@CassadeePope) February 6, 2017
— Dan + Shay (@DanAndShay) February 6, 2017
— Karen Fairchild (@KarenFairchild) February 5, 2017
— Little Big Town (@littlebigtown) February 5, 2017
— Lindsay Ell (@lindsayell) February 5, 2017
— ChrisYoungMusic (@ChrisYoungMusic) February 5, 2017
— Darius Rucker (@dariusrucker) February 5, 2017
Watch his performance below.