After ditching her gum, the singer turned in a strong version of the Star-Spangled Banner to kick off Super Bowl Sunday


Pink kicked off Sunday’s Super Bowl festivities with a strong rendition of the national anthem that wasn’t held back by her bout with the flu.

The singer announced on social media Saturday that she had come down with the flu but that she wasn’t going to let that hold her back from singing the anthem, a goal she had for herself since she watched Whitney Houston perform before the Super Bowl in 1991.

Pink didn’t quite soar to Houston’s legendary heights, but she delivered a confident, powerful rendition of the song, which had became an unlikely lightning rod for controversy throughout the NFL season.

Dressed in white pants, a white-grey top and starburst earrings, Pink stood still in front of a large American flag that was stretched across the field by volunteers. She awkwardly ditched the gum she was chewing seconds before she began singing, a moment that had been turned into a GIF by the time her anthem wrapped.

The anthem was backed by a drumline, piano and full orchestration, piped in off field. Pink appeared to be singing live, noticeable when she stretched out and faltered just slightly on the “land of the freeee” note near the end of her song. Her anthem ran a little over 2 minutes.

Pink is known for her live performance acrobatics; her concerts are marked by bouts of flying and wire-work worthy of a Cirque show. She dialed down for the anthem — an arm thrust in the air was as physical as she got — and she let her vocals do the heavy lifting and reminded the worldwide audience that she doesn’t need gimmicks to turn in a showstopping performance.

Prior to Pink, Tony and Grammy award-winning “Hamilton” actor Leslie Odom Jr. turned in a rich, warm version of “America the Beautiful” backed by a children’s choir. Odom’s rendition was faithful to the traditional version of the song, until a backbeat kicked in late and gave the song a stepped-up, contemporary feel.

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