Seventy-seven-year-old soul singer Gladys Knight had the coveted role of performing the National Anthem to kick off Super Bowl LIII on Sunday evening. Known as the “Empress of Soul,” Knight was dressed head to tee in white, with a gown embellished in diamonds and booties to match. Even with all the excitement mounting with the big game just minutes away, the stadium quieted to pay their respects and take in the performance, according to People.
Knight held the audience in captivation from the moment she started singing with her powerful vocals and radiating presence. She gave a flawless performance that was pitch perfect and full of emotion. As she sang, her performance was displayed on the big screens, interspersed with footage of military service men and women. When she reached the last high note, F-16 Fighting Falcons flew over the stadium, to the amazement of the crowd watching below.
The performance was very well received, with some fans even seen wiping away tears as she finished the last verse. Within minutes, social media was ablaze with thousands of people praising Knight for what many are calling the best Super Bowl National Anthem rendition in years. Her voice touched the hearts of many, reminding the nation of what this country was built upon and the value of true freedom. The sentiment meant more than ever during these times with so much hate and division taking over every news cycle.
Gladys Knight Wows with Her Rendition of the National Anthem Ahead of Super Bowl LIII https://t.co/by2RFwf12u— People (@people) February 4, 2019
Knight has enjoyed an extensive music career, receiving an impressive seven Grammy’s for her talents. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, she was honored to represent her hometown in such a high profile gig. “I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” she said in a public statement released by the NFL prior to the event.
There is undoubtedly a massive pressure placed upon the performer chosen to take on the National Anthem at one of the most heavily watched athletic performances of the entire year. Past musicians awarded the position included Whitney Houston, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, and Beyoncé. It is certainly not an opportunity that many would pass up. In fact, singer Pink did the job last year while very sick with the flu.
Perhaps the most controversial rendition in recent years was that of Christina Aguilera in 2011. Aguilera famously forgot the words to the National Anthem when she began singing and left out an entire verse.