Mickey Guyton Nails National Anthem at 2022 Super Bowl (LVI)
It may be a football event first and foremost. But anyone who’s been paying attention to the Super Bowl over the last few decades knows that it’s also one of America’s premier musical events every year. As awards shows and other national events continue to hemorrhage viewers, the Super Bowl is one of the few moments where American unites around TV sets, even if for some it’s more about the commercials, and even if others tune out in protest, or tune in the puppy bowl instead.
Country music rarely sees any action in the Super Bowl’s halftime show, which is the crown jewel of the extravaganza. Aside from Shania Twain making a co-headlining appearance during the halftime show in 2003, and a country music-themed show in 1994 with Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, and The Judds all appearing, country music has been shut out of the big game’s halftime in recent memory.
But country artists have seen some opportunities via the National Anthem. In 2021, Eric Church performed with Jazmine Sullivan. It was fine, but a rather ho-hum moment, at least for Eric. That was not the case Sunday, February 13th, when Mickey Guyton took the field to sing the National Anthem.
The first point of intrigue for any National Anthem rendition—especially at the Super Bowl—is if it will be performed live. When performer Jhene Aiko came out to sing “America The Beautiful” and it sure appeared to be lip synced, you had to wonder if Mickey’s big moment would suffer the same fate, and taint what is so far been the biggest moment of her career.
But Mickey Guyton was all live, and offered up a stirring, spectacular, and respectful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” with just enough flair to let her personality and talents shine through. She nailed it. Whether it’s one for the ages we’ll have to let time decide. But there were certainly no flaws in the performance, and it certainly deserves consideration in the pantheon of top performances in the modern era.
Releasing her first single in 2015, it has been an uphill battle for Mickey Guyton in mainstream country music ever since. But racial tensions in the United States saw her receive elevated interest in 2021, and ample opportunities to shine on a national stage, including performances at the CMA Awards, the ACM Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
But none of those were as big as this Super Bowl moment. And though some critics within the country music community and beyond will complain that Mickey Guyton was only tapped for the opportunity because she is one of the few minority representatives in the genre, Guyton proved she deserved the opportunity on the biggest of all stages all year, and all on her own merit.
Two Guns Up (10/10)
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(Apparently video is not available to embed. Click video to view.)
February 13, 2022 @ 5:36 pm
This has to be the single most nerve wracking performance situation possible. Your voice is just out there flapping in the breeze in front of so many people. Good to see country music well represented on a national stage. Way to go, Mickey Guyton.
February 13, 2022 @ 5:37 pm
She nailed it
February 13, 2022 @ 5:52 pm
As expected she did well, but we’re calling this a win for country music? LMAO
February 13, 2022 @ 6:14 pm
We sure are, Jake.
February 13, 2022 @ 10:49 pm
It was a win for Mickey. A win for all of us.
She was the epitome of class & Grace, singing our National Anthem.
Thank you, Mickey Guyton.
February 14, 2022 @ 11:17 am
Yes Di, she did good. I liked it. That’s not my point.
February 14, 2022 @ 11:39 am
Have been waiting since last night for you to make your point.
REALLY make your point.
Stop trying to sugarcoat it.
You are a Very intelligent man, put it out there, say exactly what you mean.
Mickey did a great job. So proud of her for being such a lady, while doing it.
Don’t you want to let go of the negativity & just be happy for her, for her beautiful performance?
Regardless of what anyone says, Mickey will never have to “own” it, again.
Because Miss Thang TOTALLY owned it last night.
With astounding beauty & grace
February 14, 2022 @ 12:14 pm
I’ve said nothing resembling criticism of her performance, she did great. And I’m honestly glad you enjoyed it. My point was simple and simply stated in my original comment. I’ve also expanded on it in other replies. A lot of people are telling me I’m wrong but nobody has yet made a valid case as for why this is a win for actual country music. So far it’s all just ad hominem and noise. Not going to keep going back and forth until someone makes a valid argument. No disrespect , Di.
February 14, 2022 @ 12:24 pm
: D It is a win for all music, across the board.
over & out for a while
p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone
John R Baker
February 14, 2022 @ 6:27 am
Well, considering that you want Wallen to clean up at the AMC’s though you hate his music I can’t say that I’m surprised that you don’t get it.
February 14, 2022 @ 7:02 am
edgelord contrarian just wants to see the world burn.
February 14, 2022 @ 11:16 am
John, spell out for me then, how this is a win for country music. As in the type of country music that Trigger puts on his playlists (not what Billboard, corporate record labels, or journalists like to pretend it is these days). Tell me what I said that’s incorrect, rather than taking lazy shots at my character like thegentile primarily does, and we can discuss. It’s a semi-interesting topic, and if you can tell me, with some semblance of logic, how a politically propped up pop singer pretending to be a country artist who hasn’t even gained any traction in the pop-country world singing the national anthem is a win for ACTUAL country music, then I’ll honestly change my mind. But if you’re not willing to do that, then I’ll write off your comments like I do Lester and gentile who essentially come here to try to police peoples character, be witty, and call people names… creating the same lame back and forths with the same commenters. You seem at least a step above that to me, but let’s see, go ahead and tell me how I’m wrong and what I “don’t get.”
John R Baker
February 14, 2022 @ 1:38 pm
Jake it’s simple. A performer associated with country music had an excellent performance at the biggest gig in the world. How would that not be a “win” for country music?
It seems like your sour grapes are just based on a reaction to the source of her support. I don’t even fully disagree with you about the “astro-turf.” It makes the whole thing a bit awkward. But then it’s awkward because for somebody of her caliber it has to be that to get the gig in a genre where supporting Morgan Wallen’s dumb ass was the big popular movement of the year. Guyton’s best material pissed them off for the same reasons that they flocked to Wallen. That’s embarrassing because he’s not that good a singer and can’t write at all. Without redneck identity politics I doubt he’d be anywhere near as popular as he is.
February 14, 2022 @ 2:08 pm
Ok, so good start, and I appreciate that you can admit recognizing the astroturf. I guess my disagreement would lie in the fact that the “association” with country music is misleading and if her anthem singing does actually lead to curiosity and interest, it would only help further the incursion of other genres and continue to ruin the diversity of music, and country music in particular. In other words, even MORE people will have a false impression of country music and even MORE people will call pop music country leaving even MORE actual country artists or even people like Rhiannon on the sidelines (at least in terms of national exposure). I’m still not convinced that’s a good thing. Now, if suddenly the majority of the artists on Trigger’s playlist saw an increase in sales because of it, we’ll then I’d gladly admit I’m wrong in a heartbeat. As far as Wallen is concerned, I don’t see why that should influence what I think about the point here. I mean are we going to let his shadow loom that large? Hey, even though I’m still not convinced, thanks for the non ad-hominem reply.
February 14, 2022 @ 10:43 am
well, considering that the announcer’s introduction mentioned country music, it’ll probably get a number of people who aren’t country fans due to the shit on the radio googling to see what’s happening in country music. Yes, it’s a win for country music.
February 14, 2022 @ 11:33 am
Yeah I caught that the announcer said she is a “country music sensation.” So now people (hypothetically at this point) rushing to stream her music and end up hearing some bland, watered down pop music and saying “hey I like this kind of country music,” is a GOOD thing for country music? What am I missing here? Convince me.
February 13, 2022 @ 5:55 pm
I agree . She did such a fantastic job, I am so proud of her. That is such a hard song to sing. And she did it beautifully. Great job!
February 13, 2022 @ 9:46 pm
She did a better job than your Bengals. That is for sure!
February 14, 2022 @ 5:25 am
Take your sour grapes out on some one else, the Bengals lost due to some bad plays and bad calls by the refs. I am just happy they made it. Incase you have not noticed, this is not a sports website. I am not going back and forth with you, I am just happy that I am just happy Mickey Guyton did such a great job doing the national anthem, personally I think she did a much better job than Eric church. I did not like his version that much. I just do not think his voice fit the song, it is a difficult song to do. And not every one can sing the song
Do not get me wrong. I am Big fan of Eric church,
I have alot of his slbums. I just thought Mickey Guyton did a far better job than he did. You have a great day.
February 13, 2022 @ 6:04 pm
Amazing performance. I just looked on iTunes to see if she received any traction in sales. Her album is not highlighted on the main page. Wake up record companies?
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 13, 2022 @ 6:19 pm
Not bad. I know you have to say she nailed it, to keep the Pasty-Whites comfortable, but she started off key. I do appreciate that she avoided the runs that most female singers throw in when they perform the song.
Definitely not a win for Country music, or,…anything at all really.
February 13, 2022 @ 7:41 pm
Ah yes the king who can’t hide his racist subtleties
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 14, 2022 @ 7:49 am
Hmm. I think that’s a difficult argument to make, James. My ire is, and has always been, aimed at upper middle-class white communists with luxury political beliefs, and the elites they gleefully bend over for. You, for example.
February 14, 2022 @ 8:27 pm
Who said communists bend over for the elite, aint that the antithesis of their beliefs?
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 14, 2022 @ 9:45 pm
No. Did you learn that in public school?
February 13, 2022 @ 8:42 pm
If a mediocre pop artist who has zero traction in even the pop-country world but is propped up and patronized by activist journalists for political reasons, “represents” country music (to use Marissa”s words), and people who should generally know better start drinking the coolade because “that’s how she’s been categorized,” then I guess those free crack pipes have gotten around real quick.
February 13, 2022 @ 9:33 pm
I published a 21-paragraph deep dive yesterday into the discrepancy between the media’s portrayal of Mickey Guyton, and the sad reality of her career. I gave Guyton’s album a mixed review, with the ultimate conclusion being, “Music Row did what it does best: turn country stars pop.” I don’t think very highly of Mickey Guyton’s recent music. I agree she is a pop star in the country market at this point.
But I don’t see the reason to overreact to the warm reception she received for her National Anthem performance. Sure, virtue signialing media will use Mikey Guyton as an unwitting pawn in their effort to portray country music as they wish it was, as opposed to what it is. But we shouldn’t allow that to cloud our judgement on this specific performance. Mickey Guyton did a great job. Giving her kudos isn’t somehow giving a win to the wrong team, or ceding ground to the Twitter assholes. It’s just calling a spade a spade. We shouldn’t be afraid about finding consensus on such things.
February 13, 2022 @ 10:09 pm
I personally said that she would do and then that she did do a good job. I don’t think its overreacting to state that this isn’t the win for country music that some are making it out to be. That said I do think people should react just a little more to other people being tokenized and patronized for such archaic and outdated reasons.
John R Baker
February 14, 2022 @ 6:42 am
Maybe the point is that Trigger is focused on the high quality of the performance rather than the background noise.
February 13, 2022 @ 6:42 pm
Why the negativity? She is considered/marketed as country. Many people assume that country artists are not extreme vocal/musical talents.
Mickey is talented, and might lead to a bit more recognition for the talent in the genre.
Anything labelled country can be a gateway to finding out about Emmylou or whoever your favourite artist is.
Just remember, even Taylor Swift brought people to listen to country, even if she turned her back on us later to the point of re-recording her first albums to make them more pop.
No publicity is bad publicity
February 13, 2022 @ 9:52 pm
Well, the people that Swift brought to the genre didn’t help country music at all. It just led to the further degrading of Nashville country music as the genre sought to keep those new pop-leaning fans.
Labeling pop singers as country doesn’t help country music. The gateway theory rarely works.
It is why a genre needs gatekeepers. A nation without borders is soon not a nation and a genre without gatekeepers becomes a soulless crescendo.
And let’s be real, Twitter and the media aren’t applauding Guydon for sounding country. They are cheering her for being a black woman in country music. Her content doesn’t matter to them. Just her skin color. She could have been awful and they would have still praised her. (IMO, she did a fine job.)
February 14, 2022 @ 12:23 am
The Swift issue is up for debate.
Country was already going pop when Taylor came on the scene with the mainly acoustic “Tim McGraw”. And inspired millions of young girls to buy guitars and ukuleles.
A lot of those fans went to Americana when Taylor and the Taylorclones went pop, and now those fans are still on the fringe of country.
Yes, I agree with gatekeepers, but Taylor’s first album was definately country, and she would have been the first country song a lot of kids heard and admitted they liked.
February 13, 2022 @ 6:48 pm
She did good. The half-time show was a let down.
February 13, 2022 @ 6:57 pm
Willie gets a thumbs down for doing a Skecher’s commercial
February 14, 2022 @ 9:22 pm
And you get a slap upside the head for saying something so inane.
February 13, 2022 @ 7:56 pm
Sorry for the interruption;
Twenty years back Waylon passed away on this date Feb-13-2002 RIP
February 13, 2022 @ 8:49 pm
I thought Mickey nailed it quite well, as did about 80.000 others in attendance there at Sofi Stadium. What it means for country music fans, or to her career, is something we can only speculate on. But for this singular moment, one of the most nerve-wracking that any performer can have, regardless of gender, genre, or skin color, she did the anthem proud (IMHO).
February 13, 2022 @ 8:52 pm
Why don’t other female pop country singers get this much coverage on here?
February 13, 2022 @ 9:36 pm
If someone from the country realm is performing on the Super Bowl, I’m very likely to write about it. It’s called the news cycle. I wrote about Eric Church performing last year too. That’s why these performances are so valuable. The press covers them, people talk about them, and it spreads the name recognition of the artist. If it was Carly Pearce who had performed, that is who would be getting the press.
February 14, 2022 @ 1:09 pm
You named two people that play actual country music. I mean more like Gabby Barrett, which is the realm of “country” artist that Mickey Guyton is in. And you never covered Carrie Underwood singing the anthem at the super bowl or stanley cup finals. She’s as “country” as Mickey Guyton. Pretending she’s somehow more authentic than Luke Bryan is absurd, but he gets straight up slandered on here before his anthem performance.
February 14, 2022 @ 1:44 pm
Man, lot to unpack here.
I think you would have a very hard uphill battle convincing anyone that I haven’t been very fair to Carrie Underwood and her vocal talents, and her loyalty to the country genre and the Grand Ole Opry specifically over the years. I have been a strong Carrie Underwood apologist, despite her pop-leaning music, and if you want evidence, just run this search:
As far as covering Carrie’s performance at the Stanley Cup playoffs, come on. They get 1/50th of the ratings. It’s not the same thing. It appears Underwood sung at the 2010 Super Bowl, but that was a dozen years ago, and when this site was a part-time deal.
Luke Bryan literally had to write the words to the National Anthem on his hand for his performance. Come on, that’s worth a razz.
February 13, 2022 @ 8:54 pm
I’m not a fan of Guyton, but she was was fine.
I’m just wondering why no-one on the field took a knee or sat down during the performance. They waited until half-time for M&M–or eminem or however he spells it–to take a knee for Kaepernick.
February 13, 2022 @ 9:12 pm
Thanks for this. I almost forgot the more important reason to note the day. My buddies and I toasted it in a bar in rural Ohio 20 years ago.
The NA was fine. I guess. Certainly nothing special.
The broadcast was the most shamelessly woke pile of shit I have ever seen. Mao, Trotsky, Stalin, and Lenin simultaneously felated each other and ejaculated in each other’s eyes at the climax of the half time show. Nothing could be more perfect. Oxycontin killed a bunch of decent people, why did it spare Eminem?
The advertisements were hilarious/scary. I watched Idiocracy a few months ago and realized that, in many ways, we are well beyond Judge’s dystopian prediction. The Rock’s prelude was far more pompous and ridiculous than anything that President Camacho could have dared get away with. The average American is far dumber and more base than Frito. Oh well, slurp your Slurp, ingest your boneless Memphis wings and get ready for some foosball. Walmart’s got your diabetic testing strips and there are “free” Covid tests in the vacant parking lot of the Taco Bell that closed down a few weeks ago. By the way, if you’re thinking that you could get rich by creating a “seltzer” drink, with “ten times the sugar” called SLURP, I’ve already got the trademark.
February 14, 2022 @ 7:17 am
“Mao, Trotsky, Stalin, and Lenin simultaneously felated each other and ejaculated in each other’s eyes at the climax of the half time show. Nothing could be more perfect.”
that’s quite the latent fantasy you got going on there. all because you saw some people rapping.
who saw this comments section going more cesspool than usual with this impending article? *raises hand
December 27, 2022 @ 1:56 pm
What were you toasting, RD?
February 13, 2022 @ 9:45 pm
She did a decent job, IMO.
As I mentioned in the other article, all the folks in a NFL discord channel thought it was bad. But Twitter apparently loved it. So who knows.
But maybe this title will appease your Twitter enemies. (It won’t.)
February 14, 2022 @ 9:41 am
if there’s one source for valid music criticism, its the neckbeards on discord. what else did they tell you?
February 14, 2022 @ 11:55 am
They talked about the Super Bowl, duh.
No one hyped them up as musical critics. They are no more experts than Twitter. They offered their opinions on the performance. They were the target audience. Their opinions should be considered in the overall audience review.
February 14, 2022 @ 5:15 am
But no cleavage 🙁
February 14, 2022 @ 6:30 am
I binged the last 5 episodes of Reacher on Amazon… the books are better.
February 14, 2022 @ 6:37 am
Rd i think Mao,Trotsky,Stalin, and Lenin are freezing in hell being called “woke”
Sir Adam the Great
February 14, 2022 @ 7:58 am
I hate to be that guy, but I feel I have to say it:
The Puppy Bowl was rigged.
February 14, 2022 @ 8:00 am
I thought she was fine, though I thought it was more gospel tinged than country and that is fine.
I skipped the half time show for the most part ,but my 19 year old daughter liked it and my 26 year old son called it old men doing old school rap.
Thanks for the reminder of Waylon’s passing, probably my favorite country singer.
Good coverage of this as always Trig!
February 14, 2022 @ 8:56 am
Taking a knee is so 2020.
February 14, 2022 @ 9:01 am
The Twitterverse is comprised of psychologically deficient individuals that believe Twitter is real life.
They are no more out of touch with reality than Hollywood.
February 14, 2022 @ 9:59 am
I just don’t see the need to culture war this thing. Mickey Guyton’s music can be pop and not country, her sales can be lackluster despite the media’s incessant praise primarily due to race, and she knocked her National Anthem performance out of the park and deserves recognition for it. All of these things can be true.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 14, 2022 @ 11:46 am
But they’re not all true. She started the song off key, which is part of why she’s in Country and not Pop.
February 14, 2022 @ 3:19 pm
The “Oh say” was fine, she got off on the…”can you see?” But she recovered quickly.
She ended strong, which in a live setting, is the most important part….!
She was ever so slightly off when the band came in, but only for a fraction of a second.
They modulated to a really strong part of her voice, maybe she should sang the whole song in that key…?
I think the expression on her face at the end….(joy and relief) is what pulled at your heart strings…. (for me, anyway….)
February 14, 2022 @ 11:57 am
She did great. Good music is good music. People will complain complain about it just to hear themselves complain and who think others want to hear them complain.
Those people would have complained if Charlie Pride sang the National Anthem…
February 14, 2022 @ 11:58 am
If her music is pop, then why is it a good thing when she is introduced as country? As some people above have argued.
February 14, 2022 @ 1:58 pm
I have not made the case that this was a “great moment for country” as some others have argued. I think it was a fine moment for country. But clearly I would have much rather a more country artist get that opportunity. I would have loved for George Strait to play at halftime. But neither of these things happened. I mean, I run a website called “Saving Country Music,” and we all know the kind of country I push around here. But pushing all of those concerns aside, I thought it was an excellent performance. It may have not been “great” for country music, but it was great for Mickey Guyton.
But I also do think it is a sum positive for country music. In December, Buzzfeed published a big puff piece on Jason Isbell that went super viral. In that article, the author said that country music is outright “hostile” to black women, which is a ludicrous statement. You have seen similar sentiments shared throughout media about country. Seeing all the opportunities Mickey Guyton has enjoyed in the last year alone, we know this isn’t true. But giving her such a huge opportunity, putting her in front of millions of viewers, and announcing her as a “country” artist does more to break down those false media narratives than anything I can with my little protestations here.
Yes, it would have been better if she was actually country. She actually was early in her career. And maybe she will go back to that again. But right now I’m just calling balls and strikes about her performance specifically.
February 14, 2022 @ 3:07 pm
“….putting her in front of millions of viewers, and announcing her as a “country” artist does more to break down those false media narratives than anything….”
You claim you haven’t made the case that this is a “win” but then you make a comment like that. Safe to say that using a false narrative (that she’s “a country music sensation”) is ok because it dispels an even worse false narrative (that all country is racist)? And is someone really saying “I used to think country music was racist but then I saw Mickey sing the anthem and now I realize the media is just a bunch of liars.” Or is it more like, people are starting to see through the bullshit that is propping people up, tokenizing them, and using them as pawns for (or against) narratives?
Why play that game at all?
February 14, 2022 @ 4:02 pm
Trigger, please excuse me for hopping on here again. Really trying to get to the bottom of Jake’s frustration.
Cross my heart – after today, won’t comment for a while.
“Or is it more like, people are starting to see through the bullshit that is propping people up, tokenizing them, and using them as pawns for (or against) narratives?”
Jake, really trying to understand your overall frustration. Think we’re getting closer …
Do you think Mickey is not a strong enough person, that she could not have declined the offer to sing at the superbowl?
I see her as a strong woman.
She knows her mind.
Cannot see her being pushed, coerced, or manipulated against her will to perform last night.
She comes from a very strong background. Father was an engineer, both parents there for the family, etc.
I think she has very strong people to support her & ask advice from, when she chooses to.
Do not think she was allowing herself be used as a pawn, or a token.
Why are you so upset Jake?
Sincerely wanting to know
February 14, 2022 @ 11:29 am
I love it when people sing the anthem so confidently, so beautifully, with a little personal touch as if to say, “this is MY anthem, too!”
Way to go, Mickey Guyton.
The Super Bowl broadcast and its advertisements were marching in ideological lock-step to rival North Korea. I haven’t watched much TV since 1992, and the in-your-face conformity was plain. I also thought the half-time show was boring, but it did manage to make rap and hip hop look mild and suburban. I don’t think the words n***a, b**ch, and *mothaf***a” appeared even once, which must be some kind of record.
February 14, 2022 @ 11:46 am
didn’t watch one second of any of it.
February 15, 2022 @ 11:34 am
You have just demonstrated the fact that you have a high IQ.
Saving Bro Country Music
February 14, 2022 @ 3:12 pm
Excellent performance, which isn’t surprising. She routinely delivers one of the best performances of the night at these things.
But the interesting case with her is that for as much as country radio SHOULD be giving her more attention, the truth is that her recent music is very Hot AC-leaning and should be getting airplay there as well. “Black Like Me” and/or “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” easily should have been “pop” singles with what was going on in the world at the time they were released, and “Heaven Down Here” is in the same sonic wheelhouse as Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man,” and that received plenty of crossover airplay.
So whereas it makes for the better story to exclusively focus on the racism/sexism of country radio, there’s the broader complaint about why radio works the way it does.
The same can be said of Kacey Musgraves, who received virtually no pop attention for the non-genre-specific “Rainbow” (right after the Grammy win), and nearly nothing for the aggressively pop-leaning “High Horse” and “Justified.” And “Justified” was supposed to be the big “boundary-less” single backed by Interscope. Everyone mocks the backwards country community for rejecting her, but it’s clearly radio overall.
February 14, 2022 @ 4:51 pm
She did a great a great job. Period.
February 14, 2022 @ 6:17 pm
Did it bother anyone else that she was on camera barely a quarter of the time?
Country Music Disciple
February 15, 2022 @ 9:10 pm
Yes, I’m surprised you’re the first person to comment on that. I was telling my wife during the song that this is a great performance and they’re showing the same players (looking indifferently) more than the singer. It was disrespectful in my opinion and I’m not a fan of her music but thought she did outstanding Sunday and deserved more face time.
February 15, 2022 @ 10:47 am
I don’t think the overwhelming majority of right-leaning country music fans have an issue with black country singers. It’s when we are constantly told that not accepting Lil Nas X makes us racist, it’s when we stop caring when people on the other side call us racist. It’s easier to call people racist than it is to understand why others might think differently than oneself.