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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