Idina Menzel really let it go.
The Long Island native delivered a powerful, live version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to open Super Bowl XLIX, punctuating it with a “Yes!” and a fist pump.
Though singing the national anthem for the huge Super Bowl audience of 100 million or so, it has also been nerve-wracking in recent years, as some singers struggled with the lyrics and the hard-to-sing melody, leading others to choose to lip-syncg. However, the Tony-winning Menzel chose to sing live and handled it with ease, despite admitting a lot of nerves.
She told ABC that previous performances have inspired her. “Ever since I saw Whitney Houston do it at the Super Bowl, I would emulate her as a singer, and she was a huge idol of mine,” Menzel said. “I can’t do it better than she did it. So I've just got to bring my own thing to it. I’m just trying to, you know, connect with people.”
John Legend delivered a lovely, live version of “America the Beautiful” on the piano.