Wynonna Judd Needs A Hand With National Anthem
Yes, we’ve seen this before, when Luke Bryan wrote some National Anthem notes on his hand at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. Well it appears that this has now become a thing—either writing the notes to the Star Spangled Banner on your hand, or hiring people who inconceivably can’t remember the words to the most well-known song after “Happy Birthday” to sing it to massive crowds, at important events, during significant times.
But apparently we are supposed to forgive Wynonna Judd for this because she was so up front about it. She showed her hand (so to speak) to a photographer Thursday night (8-29) after singing the Anthem at the Vanderbilt game against Ole Miss in Nashville, as if this would somehow atone all sins. When local Nashville newspaper The Tennessean posted a blog about Wynonna’s hand writing, characterizing her left paw as a “cheat sheet,” the country diva chided back through her Twitter channel, saying:
Cheat sheet my country butt!!!!!!! I will NEVER allow myself to EVER forget the words to such an important song. #CliffNotes
Aside from disregarding the well-recognized rules of the AP manual of style by including no less than 7 exclamation points and using ALL CAPS instead of italics to convey emphasis, Wynonna’s excuse might be one of the biggest displays of absurdity ever uttered in the English language.
So apparently Wynonna would NEVER allow herself to EVER forget the words…..but she did, or she was worried she would, so she needed to write them on her hand. And yeah, screw you Tennessean for characterizing it as a “cheat sheet” when it should clearly be called “Cliff Notes,” but I’m have a tough time finding much contrast between the two terms.
The reason we admire musical artists is because they do things that we are unable to do. And when they increasingly can’t remember the words to a song most 2nd graders would be held out of recess for not remembering, it speaks deeply to cultural reduction. Wynonna Judd has an amazingly powerful voice, and did a wonderful job singing the Anthem. But using cheat sheets and teleprompters is akin to Auto-tune and stereoids. It is taking an advantage.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes, and in some respects it is smart to make sure we mitigate those mistakes by being prepared. But the reason songs can move us so deeply is because we believe they are being sung from the heart of the performer. Because as we all know, the heart never forgets.
August 31, 2013 @ 8:15 am
For me personally, I don’t have a negative opinion or response to performer’s who do this. I think most of us, including them, know the words by heart to that song. Those performer’s could sing it word for word before showtime and not miss a beat or sing it in the shower and never mess it up. BUT I know when it comes down to that live moment, they have to be the most nervous they ever could be performing. Seems too easy to over think that song for some performers. Seems like a song you would get cold sweats before you did it… no matter who you are or what kind of crowd you are in front of. Missing words and lyrics in concerts from time to time isn’t a big deal. And we have NEVER made a big deal about singers who have done that. But this is our country’s song. You will be raked across the coals if you mess that song up live.
If you don’t need “cliff notes”.. cool. But if you do to feel a little better or feel more grounded or confident.. than cool too.
Props to those who take the song seriously and really want to make it a beautiful and respectful performance live. Again, something I can’t do and will never be able to do. Love those that can.
August 31, 2013 @ 12:39 pm
Wynonna would have received less criticism if she had slightly messed the song up. Trust me. If you’re not confident enough to perform the song live, don’t sign up for the gig. I understand it is a hard song and always creates a significant moment, but if you can’t sing it right from the heart, then pass the opportunity to someone who can. Why must we bow at the cult of celebrity to fulfill this role? Now it is writing the words on your hand, next it will be Auto-tune, and eventually we’ll just stream Miley Cyrus singing it on Spotify. Because after all, we don’t want to take the risk of someone making a mistake. That’s what’s cool about the National Anthem rendition is that that it is supposed to be a showcase of excellence.
And the problem I have is not really Wynonna writing the lyrics on her hand as much as her reaction to The Tennessean. Her explanation boils down to saying, “I AM WYNONNA!”
And finally, if you’re afraid you won’t remember the words, then use a lyric sheet, a teleprompter, or something that doesn’t look as underhanded as writing them on the underside of your hand. Both Wynonna and Luke Bryan fessed up when they were confronted, but were clearly trying to hide what they were doing.
September 1, 2013 @ 12:48 pm
“If you”™re not confident enough to perform the song live, don”™t sign up for the gig.”
Wynnona is a singer who presumably commits a whole repertoire of songs to memory.
She needs to incorporate the Star Spangled Anthem into her shows in Branson, Pigeon Forge or wherever she sings these days.
This is yet another reason to pass through Nashville without stopping when I traverse the state.
Unfortunately, I usually stop by Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop, Grimey’s Record Shop and Edward McKays on the way, winding up with a considerably lighter wallet when I reach my destination.
August 31, 2013 @ 8:27 am
Cool performance even with looking at her hand once. I love Cactus’s part. But hey that’s just my opinion. What do I know?!? LOL.
August 31, 2013 @ 10:02 am
I’d rather a performer write it on their hand and sing it live with respect than pre-record it, do vocal gymnastics with it, forget the words, sing it off key, giggle in the middle, and run off the court and so on….. all things I have witnessed. Ideally, knowing it by heart and singing it without a hitch is the best way and I know people who can do that perfectly. There is a delay too, which throws some people off.
August 31, 2013 @ 8:39 am
Singers should know this song. It’s sad she had to write the words on her hand.
September 24, 2015 @ 12:11 pm
You try singing a song you only sing once or twice a year and let’s see how you mess up in front of t.v. cameras and thousands of people. I would rather she read her hand and sing the song right then to screw up the words and try to ab lib her way through it.
August 31, 2013 @ 12:29 pm
man…Wynonna…what a dish.
October 12, 2014 @ 10:44 am
That dish is a heaping helping of nasty.
August 31, 2013 @ 5:12 pm
Singers have no problems remembering their own song lyrics to play at live shows. Yet they can’t even take the time to learn the national anthem? Pathetic.
August 31, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
I won’t mince any words here. If you were to ask me to recite the National Anthem at this moment in time, I wouldn’t know all of the words. Not because I harbor any disrespect to our nation and heritage, but because I simply have always had trouble memorizing full sets of song lyrics. I’m that kind of person that is more likely to remember powerful one-liners from dozens upon dozens of songs for applied knowledge than be able to sing the words to every song like so many “country” radio songs brag about.
That said, you can bet that if I were called upon to belt the National Anthem, or were required to, in a hypothetical situation……….I would rehearse rather hard and practice until I allowed it to sink in. Then, under pressure and the anxiety that often comes with live performing, I could very well slip up………..but at least I did so with my integrity intact.
At any rate, I would never take the palm note route. It just seems disingenuous. If Wynonna had openly acknowledged she doesn’t know all the words, I wouldn’t judge her. I’m lousy at remembering full sets of song lyrics too. But I’d take coming to an awkward caesura over what she did any day.
September 2, 2013 @ 9:25 am
Well said…..and I am in the same boat (always had trouble remembering entire songs) but with a performance this big it seems like you would rehearse it til you had it…
That being said, I think that her hot-rod flame hair more than makes up for the cheat sheet……in the picture above it looks as though the two large “flame bundles” are attempting to meet in the middle / join forces in order to create the ultimate FIRECROTCHGINGERBEARD.
Nobody can fuck with that.
Were any of yall able to make it to Muddy Roots?? I had to cancel at the last minute I will not be missing it again…..
Did Wynonna Judd Need Help with National Anthem Lyrics « Country Music News, Artists, Interviews – US99.5
September 3, 2013 @ 6:24 am
[…] Football Game! She definitely wasn’t afraid to show off the lyrics written on her palm. CHECK OUT THE PIC HERE […]
September 3, 2013 @ 10:34 am
I challenge anyone to sing the National Anthem in front of hundreds of thousands of people without a cheat sheet.
I have had trouble remembering lyrics to my own songs in front of just a hundred or so people on an occasion or two. One tiny millisecond of broken concentration can really screw a person up and you can end up lost in a heart beat.
TX Music Jim
September 4, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
Yep should be able to remember it BUT I would rather her write herself “cliff notes” than screw it up. At least she has the pipes to pull the song off !
September 4, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
I disagree. Sure, anyone should be able to sing our national anthem at any time. At the same time, anyone can draw a blank and forget the line to a song at any time. And trust me, as someone who has been there and done that,
NOBODY wants to mess up the National Anthem. Ever. Just ask Scotty McReery, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Bolton, to name a few.
I have no problem with Wynona or anyone else using a cheat sheet. At least she didn’t lip synch it.
September 5, 2013 @ 9:42 am
I think its arrogant and ignorant to say that its shameful for someone to use written lyrics to perform this song. If you’ve never performed in front of a big group of people, you have no idea how easy it is to lose concentration.
And, for god’s sake, Wynona is a badass singer who’s paid her dues.