Legendary pop star Gladys Knight sang the national anthem to launch Monday Night Football. Rather than trying for sweep and grandeur, Knight went for light and jazzy.
The reaction to Knight’s version on social media was a huge thumbs down.
First, here’s the video of her performance before the Baltimore Ravens played the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.
As you can see from the video, Raiders coach Jon Gruden grimaced as he listened to Gladys Knight. Ravens coach John Harbaugh took off his glasses and rubbed his nose, while other players swayed to the non-traditional, syncopated beat. Knight repeated the word Brave at the end, hitting one final high note as the stadium was buzzed by a military flyover of F-35A fighter jets from Nellis Air Force Base. They flew over the stadium then buzzed the Vegas Strip.
Twitter Gave Gladys Knight a Thumbs Down
The social media reaction was immediate. Daniel Oyefusi, who covers the Miami Dolphins, tweeted: “Gladys Knight giving us that two-step national anthem.”
Another non-fan of the anthem rendition tweeted: “WHO LET GLADYS KNIGHT SING THIS NATIONAL ANTHEM RENDITION LMFAOOOOOO”
The NFL is putting a spotlight on its anthem singers this past weekend, the first of a 17-week season. Gladys Knight is a legendary singer. The Empress of Soul performed the anthem at Super Bowl 53 in February, 2019. Dressed in white and gold, she gave a gorgeous performance. And like she did Monday before the Raiders-Ravens, she repeated “Brave” multiple times at the end of the anthem.
That repeating of the word Brave caused some anxiety with gamblers placing bets at off-shore casinos. You can bet on how long a performer sings the anthem at the Super Bowl. But the betting rules are precise. The time starts from the moment the performer starts singing until the first Brave to close the song. The over/under was 1 minute, 50 seconds. It took most of the first half to determine that Gladys Knight came in under at 1:49.5. Overall, her performance lasted 2 minutes.
Now, getting back to Monday’s performance and more reactions. DJ Steph Floss posted: “Gladys Knight said … I’m a do this how I wanna do this”
The Super 70s Sports twitter account loved the jazzy rendition.
“Gladys Knight bringing the goddamn heat.”
Knight Is Long-time Raiders Fan
Knight considers the Raiders her hometown team. She has performed several residencies in southern Nevada. Monday night was a special event, given that it was the first time thousands of fans watched a regular season game at Allegiant Stadium. The spectacular arena opened last season, but fans weren’t allowed because of Covid-19 precautions.
“The Raiders are like family to me and I’ve been a Raiders fan for decades,” Knight said. “To be able to honor our country, the Raiders team and my home of Las Vegas by singing the Anthem, it is just so special. I am very honored that they still think of me when moments like this are considered and am beyond proud to be chosen for this amazing honor.”