Jewel’s Indy 500 National Anthem Performance Sparks Fierce Twitter Debate [Watch]
Jewel's bluesy performance of the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday (May 28) left fans divided, with some saying the singer-songwriter added too many of her own creative embellishments to the patriotic standard.
Donning a white jumpsuit and matching cowboy hat, the singer took the stage in front of the traditional assembly of flags, picking an acoustic guitar as she sang. Jewel's updates to the anthem were subtle — she didn't change any of the words, nor did she change the essential melody, but she did switch up some of the rhythms and add a few vocal twists to her rendition.
Many in the audience appreciated the passion in her performance: In the clip, you can see NASCAR drivers and fans in the stands standing in somber reflection, their hands over their hearts.
But others weren't quite so impressed, and after the race, they jumped on social media to speak their minds, criticizing Jewel's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for being everything from out of tune to downright disrespectful.
"I liked it better than the 'soul' ones but I don't think any but the original should be performed," someone opined in a comparatively mild tweet.
"One of the worst National Anthem performances I've ever seen in my life. Not Roseanne bad, but up there," another viewer added.
Another Twitter user defended Jewel's rendition, saying, "It takes guts and talent to add a personal touch to an anthem." But someone else disagreed, saying, "It takes narcissism to change the national anthem," and adding, "just sing the song the way it was written and the way we all know it and quit trying to 'improve' it."
But not everyone was disappointed by Jewel's performance.
"I liked it. It is ok to sing our national anthem and put your style on it," one tweet reads. Another applauded the emotion behind her delivery.
"Every word was filled with emotion," that user pointed out. "Many times, nowadays this is sung to show off the singer's voice, with zero emotion."
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