As multi-platinum artist Demi Lovato sang the final words of the Star-Spangled Banner to open Super Bowl LIV, an enormous sound could be heard as Marine Corps fighter jets flew over the stadium in Miami, Florida. It was a spectacular finish to Lovato’s performance of the national anthem at one of the world’s most watched events.
It was also the culmination of a longtime dream for Lovato, who had tweeted on Feb. 7, 2010, “One day, I’m gonna sing the national anthem at a super bowl.” Before she took to the stage, Lovato took a moment to acknowledge how excited she was on Instagram, “Dreams really do come true y’all.”
The stunning performance, in which Lovato hit all the high notes, was accompanied by live video footage of American soldiers standing at attention next to a C-130 aircraft at the Al-Udeid air base in Qatar. The triumphant rendition capped off Lovato’s return to music after an emotional performance of her song “Anyone” at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Lovato had been absent from the music world since 2018, when she was hospitalized as the result of a drug overdose and went into rehab. On Dec. 4, 2019, Lovato told her fans on Instagram, “The next time you hear from me, I’ll be singing.” She finally took to the stage at the 2020 Grammys, singing “Anyone,” a song she had written just days before her overdose.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Lovato’s Grammy return to singing was momentarily cut short after the first line but was salvaged when audience cheers prompted her to finish her heart-rending performance.
Before the Super Bowl, singing the Star-Spangled Banner for such a huge global audience was even more nerve-wracking, she told Andy Cohen on Sirius XM. “The national anthem, if I mess up, everyone goes after you, if you do,” she told Cohen. “There’s so much pressure on the National Anthem.”
When asked about her apparel choice for the appearance, Lovato emphasized, “I wanted it to be respectable and classy,” adding that “you’ve got to know your audience.” Cohen joked with the singer, noting that “the audience, not to freak you out, is the world.”
But when the time came to sing for her country, Lovato was well prepared. Members of the different branches of the United States Armed Forces each with their flag stood behind her. Lovato went on to give a soaring performance that matched the superstars of recent years who have lent their voices to America’s anthem, including Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and Pink.
Many celebrities and fans posted about her stirring performance, including “The Ellen Show” producer Andy Lassner, who knows a strong show when he sees it. “No idea how it’s sounded on tv, but here in the stadium Demi Lovato just brought the house down with the national anthem,” he wrote on Twitter.
As for Lovato, she spoke with Entertainment Tonight after the game, saying that the whole experience had been a blur. “I don’t remember anything! I blacked out,” she said. “I was so excited.”
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Author: Robert Jay Watson