Why Reba McEntire’s Super Bowl Anthem Made Us Miss Whitney Houston on the 12th Anniversary of Her Death

There are times when I — like everyone else around the world — miss Whitney Houston.

Every time I hear someone on “American Idol” or “The Voice” I try the impossible by singing one of their songs.

Every time I hear “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in a bar or club and see generations of women and men — both gay and straight — shimmy and sing at the top of their lungs.

And every Grammy since I was in Los Angeles that weekend when she shockingly passed — at age 48 — on February 11, 2012, the day before music’s biggest night.

But perhaps I miss Houston the most when someone gets on the mic to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. Because no one has owned and transformed the national anthem like Whitney sang it on February 12, 1991.

On Sunday night — before the Kansas City Chiefs took on the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas — it was Reba McEntire who had the difficult task of measuring Houston’s memorial on the 12th anniversary of his death.


US singer Reba McEntire performs the national anthem during the pre-game ceremony at the start of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on February 11, 2024.  It's the Super Bowl.  The NFL's annual championship game is between the AFC champion and the NFC champion and has been held every year since 1967.
Reba McEntire performs the National Anthem during pregame ceremonies at the start of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on February 11, 2024, USA. John G Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

And while the 68-year-old country superstar did an adequate job — it was more serviceable than special — there was nothing outstanding on a day when you’d hoped for some heavenly inspiration from Houston.

Certainly, there are others—from Luther Vandross (1997) and Mariah Carey (2002) to Beyoncé (2004) and Lady Gaga (2016)—who have made Houston even more proud since 1991.

But today, of all days, we asked Reba for more than she had to give.

Whitney Houston sings the national anthem before the Buffalo Bills play the New York Giants before Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images

Hey, at least it was better than Post Malone, whose “America the Beautiful” probably had Houston turning in its grave. Let’s just say that dude is not going to win any singing competitions.

At least “Rise Up” chanteuse Andrea Day — though nowhere near the unmistakable vocal power of Peake Houston (who does?) — channels some of the gospel and jazz vibes of Houston’s anthem through the ages when she “Lift Every Voice and Sing .”

On this night – in memory of the great voice of all – that should be enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *