Jackie Evancho’s inauguration: Judge for yourselves

Jackie Evancho’s inauguration: Judge for yourselves


norman lebrecht

January 21, 2017

One conductor has mildly called it the worst national anthem in American history.

Some low notes are unreached, other are just missed. There are cracks near the top.


  • Myrtar says:

    Performing the national anthem for the entire world to see is no easy task, and such responsibility shouldn’t have been given to a 16 year old. She was nervous (and then again, who wouldn’t be!) and it showed, a lot. Even people who aren’t musically inclined understood that it wasn’t good.

    She accepted to perform at the inauguration for the exposure, but this will most likely hurt her “career” than anything. Excusable for a 9 year old, but at 16 people expect a lot more, there are 16 years old out there that are true talents, soon coming to an Opera House near you. None of them is called Jackie Evancho.

    • Bob Martin says:

      Where Oh Where was her ‘mentor’ David Foster for this highly important performance????

      • Jim Jorgensen says:

        Ok S/D haters, granted it’s not Jackie best performance and My opinion is she may in after thought wished she’d gone the Beyonce path and lip synced it. Because Jackie can sing the Anthem beautifully since she did opening day for the Pirates at 9 y/o. There are better recordings, DC is not famous for their recording talents. Its a shame because I watch the Prayer Breakfast live on CSPAN and it was great. Jackie appearance at 10 is poor quality recording. The main problem may be Jackie sat in the cold for an hour before she sang, and she wasn’t 100% on top of that. She seems to get sick every winter, I have attended 14 of her concerts and two in winter were sub par , one just a cough or two in Melbourne , Fl. . The worst was sadly in Pittsburgh, where she had to stop. she apologized to the audience and finished the program, even singing Lovers from her Dream with Me album produced by David Foster. So trolls that you are , All the other live performance I have attended were awesome, any of her professionally recorded live performances are great. PBS etc. She is still 17 , for me I can’t wait to hear and see the next chapter, she graduates from HS soon. Later Trolls,

        • Stephen Runnels says:

          Or, instead of making specious excuses for Jackie, try listening to the original feed instead of the distorted news-feed video Norman decided to offer us. I find it telling Norman still insists on posting the obviously distorted video. it’s almost like he wants to purposefully put Jackie Evancho in a bad light. Nah, Norman wouldn’t stoop that low, would he? Norman must just be too busy to do the right thing. Anyway, here is the original from Jackie’s own site: https://youtu.be/nSjHBSKtgls

          Notice the big difference?

          • Nydo says:

            Stephen, you just refuse to accept the truth that the feed that Norman put up is the direct, unaltered one, and the one you keep peddling is heavily equalized and drowning in reverb. Does it sound better? Yes, it covers up the extreme faults of the actual vocalization. Evancho’s performance always relies on a great deal of artificial reverb and equalization; even your posting of a Youtube video in the elevator shaft is just creating the same without electronics.

          • Stephen Runnels says:

            NYDO, believing Norman’s video is the real deal is as funny as thinking Jackie sings in elevator shafts. Why are you and Norman so bent on finding fault with Jackie? Jealousy?

          • Nydo says:

            No, Stephen, just an interest in real quality over processed fakery for the ignorant. Regarding the elevator shaft, the Youtube video of her singing outside her hotel room is in front of a bank of elevators surrounded by marble on all sides, with a huge reverb time, pretty close to singing in an echo chamber. If you put her in a concert hall in front of an orchestra without a microphone within a few inches of her mouth, you wouldn’t be able to hear her at all.

          • Stephen Runnels says:

            NYDO: Hahahahahaha. . . “If you put her in a concert hall in front of an orchestra without a microphone within a few inches of her mouth, you wouldn’t be able to hear her at all.” No kidding? hahahahahaha. . Think about that statement for a second. You don’t want quality! You want yodeling. Unlike yourself, I have experienced Jackie in concert, in front of a full orchestra, singing with a microphone so we could actually hear her beautiful, natural, unstressed, perfect voice. Jackie has a team of managers, promoters, and doctors that pay extremely close and constant attention to her health and her voice. No one but a selfish moron would want her to purposefully damage her voice to appease idiots who think volume and projection is considered “real quality”. Jackie Evancho doesn’t do screaming, barking, vocal tricks, autotune, and soundboard manipulations, and will never have to. Always remember, Jackie is the one with the millions of fans, many of whom travel hundreds and thousands of miles in all kinds of weather from all over the world just to experience her voice in person. Not you or me.

            And that hallway she was singing in? You remind me of the toddler who was sitting on the floor looking at the walls, the elevator, the lights, and everything else instead of focusing on what was right in front of her. Her loss. And yours.

          • Nydo says:

            Stephen, go ahead and be happy in your little world of delusion; I will listen to real singers when I listen to classical vocal music, not tiny imitations with extremely limited musical and vocal range that have to by hyped up by electronics. Your comments speak very clearly to your total musical ignorance.

          • Anthony says:

            NYDO, at this point there are only two possibilities; you’re either stupid or you’re a liar. If you don’t recognize the quality of Jackie’s voice, you’re just stupid. If you haven’t taken the brief moments it costs to view one or more of the many videos of her singing the Anthem, starting at age 9 at the Pirates home opener, the Packers Thanksgiving Day game, Heinz Field Steelers game, Heinz Field for Penguins Winter Classic, yet continue to spew your venom about her, then you’re a liar. No other possibility exists.
            Oh, I’m sorry. You could be a stupid liar.

          • Anthony says:

            Nydo, Jackie did make one huge mistake. She allowed herself to be taken to her seat well before the inauguration program even started, (there is video of her being led to her seat by a woman usher in Navy dress uniform while most of the seats on the podium are still empty) so she sat out in 40 degree rainy weather for about 2 1/2 hours with no opportunity to warm up before singing. This would have caused problems for a 40 year old 250 pound tenor. Yet Jackie, the 4′ 10″ 90 pound soaking wet 16 year old high school junior, powered through.
            And idiots like you criticize the performance, again refusing to acknowledge the FACT that the U.S. feed was (probably deliberately) sabotaged because of the media’s Trump hatred.
            If you were an honest critic, you would view any of her many performances, preferably live, but even any of her thousands of surreptitiously cell-phone-taped concert videos. Then you would return to this site and do ten thousand mea culpas.

          • Oliver Ford says:

            Genuine question for NYDO and those who don’t like Jackie, who has a similar-ish style but is better? Who do you consider her a bad imitation of? I’ve really liked Jackie’s singing since I first heard it but I keep hearing from you all that there are much better people. Who are they?

    • Jim Good says:

      Jackie is a professional even at 16. The audio feed was bad. The international market got a better feed. I guess our news media is just use to lip sync feeds so they don’t check what comes out of the mic for someone that has the guts to actually sing the song.

      Check out: https://www.facebook.com/ronwbrown/videos/10206122059769758/

    • BobM says:

      While Ms Evancho on her best day would never measure up to the highest standard for a trained classical singer this unfortunately was far from her best day. She contracted the flu seven days before the performance and had no voice as late as two days before. Then for some ungodly reason they seated her on the platform for the entire ceremony of which her song was the concluding act.

      So she sat outside in the damp chill for over an hour and then with no warmup and an uncertain voice stood to sing before millions watching from around the world. So, yes, the performance showed she was very nervous at the start and that her voice was not at its best throughout.

      • Arturo says:

        And yet the military band which accompanies had to do that too – at Obama’s inaug they endured much worse – and yet they sound fantastic. Her manager should have seen that coming. It’s a given. If she wasn’t up to it, she should have said no.

        I’m afraid that professional musicians will never have any sympathy for Jackie Evancho. She makes too much money for that.

  • Anon says:

    Is it better badly sung but genuinely live, or mimed to a pre-recorded and edited / polished backing track, as with Yo-Yo Ma et al?

    • Gary Carpenter says:

      The YoYo Ma quartet had no choice as it was actual chamber music and wouldn’t amplify – particularly so as it turned out to be very windy that day. The important thing was that it was a commissioned work by a living composer played (or mimed) by great artists; it had gravitas and purpose. The national anthem has been sung in the past – always ‘live’ – by Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman amongst others. Evancho was the best Trump could get under the circumstances (young, impressionable, ambitious); which is sad for her as it was probably a career defining moment – and not in a good way. Mimed would have probably been better under the circumstances – if there were no close-ups!

    • sam_mcelroy@hotmail.com says:

      A comment like this (Anon) could only come from a non-musician. This was probably the easiest piece those musicians played in their lifetimes. It was the technical challenges of micing and mixing a live quartet for such an enormously important occasion, as well as bracingly cold conditions for two Strads, that led the inauguration committee to insist on a pre-recording. Jackie Evancho, however, exposed only the pathetic truth of Simon Cowell’s commercial success – the tasteless, vapid fraud that is killing art today. I am so sorry for the thousands of opera singers whose talents – and skills! – could have been showcased, for the good of the art form itself. How rarely real singers get these opportunities, and this was one wasted in the most soul-destroying way.

      • Nydo says:

        Clarinets aren’t made for 25 degrees fahrenheit, nor are string instruments. Their pitch goes in different directions, and the differences are almost insurmountable. If you consider how temperature affects pitch, by my calculations, the clarinet would begin close to a half a step flat, and the strings would be high due to the effect of the cold on the tension of the strings. While they all could have brought out second instruments made out of modern materials and used space heaters to get past some of that, it still wouldn’t have brought about a decent result by the standards of the artists, so prerecord was the only decent choice.

        Evancho wouldn’t be heard 5 feet away without manipulating the microphone, sometimes only an inch from her lips.

  • Caz says:

    Yikes….used to like her but this is an abortion!!! What’s with the xylophone? Sounds like cowbells lol….guess the arrangers got the last laugh!!

    • I was (unfortunately) there says:

      Arrangement supplied by her management, mallet instruments were miked too close and out of tune with the band due to the weather (probably should have been omitted). But then again, the whole day should never have happened…

    • Mikko says:

      I think it was a case in point why the performances in these enormous outdoor events are often pre-recorded for live television. Even if the singers and musicians do a fine job, it’s still tricky to get the sound right with the hard deadlines and outdoor conditions. Obviously the mic or mixing was way off on that xylophone (or whatever it was).

      A lot of Super Bowl performers have received flak on internet forums for lip syncing or miming, but they likely didn’t have much of a say in the matter. The half-time show must be set up in minutes and the broadcast has who knows how many millions of viewers. The tv network won’t want to take too many chances.

  • Johanna Quartel says:

    I’m not an Evancho fan, but to be fair–she didn’t stand a chance. The tessitura was too low for her, and the key chosen (Ab) may have been optimized for band and community singing. This is a very difficult anthem for the average person because its range spans over an octave and a half, and even in this key, the top Eb (not counting her added Ab) might well be a stretch for Joe Public.

  • John Sullivan says:

    Maybe it’s just the recording, but for me, I could have done with better diction.

  • Daniel F. says:

    By NO MEANS was it the “worst” performance of the anthem ever heard. Most of it was pretty good and sung mostly straight, as distinct from the multilation to which it is routinely subjected nowadays by folks who feel the tune needs embellishment and, presumably, “improvement”. (n.b. Louis Armstrong, arguably the greatest improvising musician America has ever known, played the anthem (as a show-closer) very strictly: just the melody.) It was, however, a little disarming to see her using the teleprompter at times to stay on track with the words.

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Not sure you mean disarming, which means winning, charming, irresistible, persuasive, beguiling.

    • robert says:

      She said she didnt use the teleprompter…she sadidnt even know there was one there. NIce try there Einstein.

      • Susan G. says:

        If you are referring to her looking down at the “teleprompter,” actually that is a monitor with a camera feed of the conductor. Typically she’s way up there on the platform, and the band is far below on the ground. There’s no way she could see the conductor otherwise. The monitor is placed on the floor just next to the podium. In my experience.

  • V.Lind says:

    That conductor never heard Roseanne Barr. And there are plenty others.

    The child was nervous and somewhat flubbed it. I am no admirer of her cult, but she was trying to sing it straight and showing the weaknesses in her voice. If she had been trained from the early signs of the natural talent she clearly possesses she might have made a great success in mature years. But, like so many, they decided to go for the sacred cows of America — fame and money — rather than patient achievement. Shame, really. But somehow appropriate to the circumstances.

    • Sheryl paris says:

      I have listened to her voice over and over but only when she is almost eating the microphone . I can’t tell if she really has a good voice or not it sounds all electronically loud . When she was on Americas got talent she also had the microphone in or by her mouth I don’t really believe she has a good voice without the microphone . I think people are blind when they see her sing they are all in Ahhh she’s so good but in reality what child has an opera voice without help . I think someone in the music business helped her out a little bit with inhancements in her voice . I really one time on tv live to see her sing without a microphone or no music lets see then how beautiful her voice is . I haven’t yet to see a performance without backup sound or a microphone . For a person that sings that strong and high pitched voice puts him or her self in the song she doesn’t . This is because she really doesn’t have that voice that people think she does. This is my opinion!!!

      • Anthony says:

        Remember the old saying? “Opinions are like anal sphincters; everyone has one, and most of them stink. Your opinion stinks, and that’s not my opinion; it’s verifiable fact.
        Jackie Evancho has sung with many of the greatest tenors on Earth, including Andrea Bocelli, the Canadian Tenors, 2 of the 3 original Three Tenors (Placido Domingo and Jose Carerras) Peter Hollens, Vittorio Grigolo, the Italian tenors Il Volo, one of the early Phantoms, Chris Mann and many others I’m sure I’ve forgotten. She’s also sung with Tony Bennett, Susan Boyle, Sumi Jo, Sarah Brightman, and again, many others. When Jackie appeared with Bocelli and 10 or 12 other singers in Thailand, the Bangkok English language newspaper the next day reviewing the concert, said, “The highlight of the evening was the tiny teenager from the United States.”
        So yeah, Sarah, I’d say your opinion stinks. I’ll take the opinions of these other world-famous singers who adore her and want to share the stage with her.

        • Nydo says:

          Anthony, “verifiable fact”? Absolutely not. Sheryl’s opinion is the opinion of pretty much every educated musician around that actually has looked into what good singing is. She is a product of the easy listening side of pop entertainment, and all of the connections and people that she sang with are exactly the same thing, though some of them actually had talent and did real things in situations that were artistically oriented (Domingo, Carreras, Grigolo, Bennett). Take that microphone away from her mouth (even a couple feet away), and I am pretty sure here voice will sound quite mediocre. Of course, no one with actual musical knowledge expects a teenager to measure up to real standards; the voice doesn’t develop that quickly. However, the general public really likes to see cute kids doing grown up things. Just keep in mind that this is show business, not art; there is a great deal of smoke and mirrors involved. Whether she develops a real voice that last past the cute teenager stage remains to be seen. Her most recent predecessor (Charlotte Church) didn’t do particularly well.

      • Stephen Runnels says:

        The ignorance from some of the so-called musical experts is nothing if not funny. As far as not being able to sing without electronic intervention, listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOZtoe8dlJk

        Musical experts would have also noticed the audio from the feed Norman provided you was horribly and amateurishly altered. So try this un-altered version to hear what we who were actually there heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSjHBSKtgls

        Notice the difference? Instead of pontificating over your supposed musical expertise and wisdom, make the effort to attend a Jackie Evancho concert yourself to not only experience what most of us understand to be the most beautiful singing voice of the 21st century, but how Jackie transforms her audience. There is a reason people travel hundreds and thousands of miles just to hear, in person, that incredible, beautiful voice.

        • Nydo says:

          Stephen, I am afraid you are completely delusional about her talent; posting a Youtube video of her singing in what is essentially an echo chamber just reinforces the point that I made. The original feed that is unaltered is exactly what Norman posted; the one you offer is again completely drowned in reverb and equalization. Maybe it is you that should attend a few actual musical events so you can tell the difference.
          I am a professional musician, and I have played with a number of the major symphony orchestras in our country, including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. I have also heard all of the major symphonies in the world, most of them many times, and I had a subscription at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC for 25 years, as well as hearing major vocal performances in many other venues. I also studied voice in college, as an adjunct to my studies as a wind player. I do know what I am talking about. Saying that many people think that Jackie is the best just shows that many people don’t really know much.

          • Stephen Runnels says:

            As I said, you special people are nothing but sad BS artists pretending you know anything about what you are actually hearing. I offer you a sample of Jackie’s perfect pitch, timbre, cadence, tone, and quality, and the only thing you can invent is a complaint about the location. Any of your musical training has obviously been a waste of time and money if you cannot tell the difference between the direct feed video and audio Jackie’s manager posted to her site, and the poor, altered network feed Norman decided to use. And again, you decided to ignore the difference in vocal quality and instead only invent a complaint in imaginary electronic manipulations. Ignoring the virtues of the artist in favor of puerile ad-hominem attacks demonstrates you are not the musician you pretend to be. No professional would ever do such a thing. Whatever level of professionalism you think you have, never forget Jackie Evancho has accomplished more in the past 8 years than you will ever even dream of in your entire lifetime, with real, professional musicians and artists that are as enchanted with Jackie as the rest of us. You have a couple of instruments and an attitude. Jackie has a lifetime of money, fame, and adoration.

  • Erik Abbink says:

    I’m no fan of Jackie Evancho, but prefer her live inauguration performance any day over a pre-recorded one.

  • Peter says:

    Do they have no professional sound engineers in Washington D.C.?
    Sounds like a school concert recorded by 8th graders.

  • Lori McHugh says:

    There have been MANY terrible renditions of our national anthem – this was certainly NOT the worst by far!

  • AMetFan says:

    I’m all for supporting new young talent, etc., but that performance was an abomination by any standard. Yes, she is an adolescent and tried her best, but an adolescent posing as a professional singer without the goods. It was an insult to every talented musician who has struggled long years to perfect their craft, whether classical or popular. Ms. Evancho and her handlers did her no favors, nor our national anthem. Our country can do better…

    • CDH says:

      Of course it can. But they did not want to come and sing for Donald Trump.

      At her age, she might think it’s an honour. More mature performers realised it would be an association, not one they wished to embrace.

  • MacroV says:

    It’s not disastrous, if not quite Norman-esqe. If I’m not mistaken, the Marine Band usually has a vocalist on staff who would probably do a fine rendition.

  • Alexander says:

    It would behove all of us to remember that she is a child and that she was encouraged and/or allowed to accept this invitation by people who ought to have known better. In circumstances such as these it would be better to say nothing at all than to saying something unkind. She believed that she was doing this for her country, and I am sure that she did the very best that she could. That deserves to be commended.

  • AMetFan says:

    If she were a talented amateur, I would agree that it would be best to say nothing at all. As it is, she is a professionally managed performer, with a full time touring schedule that earns her a hefty sum. As such, she should be judged as a full-fledged professional. Those who ought to have known better are her parents, who as her legal guardians are responsible her as a minor. As it turned out, not a smart career move. As an American, I resent that such talent is showcased as our country’s best. Again, our country can do better.

    • Una says:

      Maybe Trump wanted a child, a named one, and someone who is the future of the country, not 50+ year old opera singers.

    • Archer says:

      Very well said thank you! I couldnt agree more. I’m one of those singers trying my hardest out here in LA and majored in Vocal performance/Opera. It really shocked me to see this at her level of training and experience now in her career. It appeared like she had never performed before and I feel she was even better a few years ago. There are so many singers that would have done an amazing job. I’ve always loved her voice, but this definitely didn’t showcase her or the arrangement well. She didn’t even appear proud, happy or into the performance. Strange things happens and this blew me away. If you’d like to check out my new EP/music videos visit http://www.lindsaysolonycze.com
      Blessings in 2017!

  • Alex says:

    A musical train-wreck forshadowing the governmental one to come.

  • Bruce says:

    Not the worst by a long, LONG shot. Not the strongest either.

    A little confusing. The key, as someone already mentioned, seems low for her. The song has a really wide range, which is why you hear it done badly (worse than this) so often.

    Surely she knows her own range at this point in her career; surely the band didn’t HAVE to play it in A-flat. If she took it up a step and had to dispense with the interpolated high note (“land of the free-HEEEEE”), that would be just fine.

    Could have been nerves — tension can keep you from opening up for your low notes. Maybe the key felt fine in rehearsal.

    Could have been the cold — we all know that cold air is not kind to the vocal cords, and I’ve been told that that explains why Aretha Franklin sounded the way she did at the 2009 inauguration (insisted on performing live rather than lip-synching to a pre-recorded version).

    It’s possible that they told her “this is the key, take it or leave it”, and she didn’t have the whatever-to-call-it that would have enabled her to call BS on that.

    In any case, I can’t endorse the “she’s only a kid, she did her best” argument: she’s a professional, and putting our work out there for others to judge is part of what we do. She can’t be a stranger to criticism at this stage of her career.

  • Alexander Skeaping says:

    Oh I don’t know about that. Granted it wasn’t GREAT, but at least the poor girl sang it perfectly in tune!

  • Alexander says:

    She may well be a professional in the sense that she earns a living from performing, but that does not mean that she has the same emotional or intellectual maturity as an adult. Being a child star is a notorious burden, and we have seen too many casualties (e.g. Lena Zavaroni) not to take that seriously. I’m sure that most of us made mistakes when we were 16, but most of us were fortunate enough not to have this girl’s degree of celebrity. As it happens, I find Donald Trump despicable, as a man and as a politician, and this is actually the first time I’ve heard Jackie Evancho sing, so I have no particular interest in these events. I just don’t like to see unkindness towards somebody who is, despite her fame and success, still a child.

  • frank says:

    Particularly loved the seriously off- pitch note at the end. Won’t discuss the song itself which is dreadful in its own right. Very weird prayer service for Donald this morning: it started off with God Save the Queen!

    • Helen Wynn says:

      “God Save The Queen” is “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in the United States. I would have loved to hear Renee Fleming reprise her spectacular Super Bowl National Anthem at the Inaugural of the 45th President of the United States. Guess she was too busy being politically correct and snubbing us deplorables. At least Hillary had the class to show up even though she was undoubtedly in great personal pain.

  • Richard says:

    Poor kid.

  • Micky says:

    Here is the REAL recording of the day, The US broadcasters really screwed up the audio…my guess…it wasn’t an accident….they changed volume levels at the beginning making it sound like she can’t sing, once you hear the real recording you see what I mean….I’ve seen her live 2 times, singing 1 1/2 hours, every note in tune and NO teleprompter…oh and 3 different languages too!


    • Michael Endres says:

      Indeed amazing singing and very,very moving.

    • John Sullivan says:

      That really was much better!

    • BobM says:

      There are cell phone captures from the crowd that sound better than what was broadcast by the networks. This version is obviously what was played at the venue.

    • Bruce says:

      MUCH better-sounding than the one supplied by NL. (Doesn’t sound faked to me, either — a lot of little touches are the same, e.g. “perilous” pronounced “per-o-liss,” and the last note sounding a touch flat until the vibrato comes in. The added reverb is standard operating procedure these days.)

      • Nydo says:

        This version is heavily remixed; the first one was more of a straight mike feed. This version is drowning in reverb, to compensate for the close miking. It also has bass boosted. It may sound better to you, but the first version is truer to what the original sound was like.

    • ben Surbana says:

      Thanks, Micky, for this recording. Now we know what the crowd heard and it sounded satisfactory despite all the conditions Miss Evancho had to surmount, i.e., the cold air with no opportunity for a warm-up, and being ill with the flu.

      Blessings to Jackie Evancho for her courage—especially in today’s political climate.

      Because she loves to sing, may she be able to continue her career with enthusiasm and happiness. 🙂

  • Christopher CZAJA SAGER says:

    more ‘slipped disc’ “Schadenfreude” ? was touching and suitably non-glitzy the sweet gal ‘s rendition.
    lets continue with trivia?
    Mrs. Trump the most beautiful FLady?..
    her clothes…
    the well-dressed and well-mannered family

    as if this is ‘important’?

  • Oliver says:

    There are some better and worse audio versions. This is a better one:


  • luciano tanto says:

    infantile discussion…

    • Peter says:

      Juvenile discussion, she is 16 now.

      • Una says:

        She is still a child in our country, regardless of the looks. The whole thing was far too low for her in Ab major. Should have been in at least C major for her, given she was no doubt asked to croon like a pop singer, sex it up for the microphone and all the amplification, and then she could have cut out all the false high notes at the end that add nothing to it musically or vocally. It could have all been far worse and so many will have loved it. Not my cup of tea but then I had the choice of turning it off if I wanted to! The solo singers the next day at the Interfaith Prayer Service, which we got here in England on the telly thanks to CNN and Sky, was so much better. But then there was none of the hype of Evancho, and probably they did it for the love of God and the love of their country, not the dosh.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    After reading all the vitriol in the comments, I was expecting a rendition worthy of comparison with Florence Foster Jenkins. That’s not what we got. It’s not Renee Fleming but at least she outdid Christina Agulera (who famously messed up the words during a Super Bowl).

    For those who are blaming the key, understand that the USMC “President’s Own” Band can play the piece in whatever key is required. The problem for most singers–all but the most highly trained–is that the song is nearly impossible to pull off. The range is horrible, with the “free-hee” pushing it to two octaves.

    I’m not making excuses for Ms. Evancho; she probably shouldn’t have tried it, but I am sure that her parents, as well as her management and producers, were behind this.

    • Nick says:

      I haven’t waded through all the discussion but I suggest we also have to remember it was bitterly cold out there. And she had to sit amongst all those VIPs with her nerves jangling for some time with no vocal warm up before the anthem started. Not so good, but not nearly as bad as some suggest.

      • Bruce says:

        Actually if you check out Micky’s link above, it features the same performance with much better recording quality and she sounds pretty good. (I mean, you may or may not be a fan of her style or her voice, but she doesn’t sound like she’s having trouble like in the video that NL provided.)

    • Nydo says:

      2 octaves is not really a problem for a classically trained singer; they all are able to accomodate this range, as long as they have a choice of key to match their voice type.. Evancho is more of a PT Barnum type of singer…..

  • Sue says:

    All this is a perfect metaphor for the American condition; they have end-of-empire debt levels, the nation is retreating because it has no money and no economic growth and it has been divided into identity groups because now the contest is all about who gets what; who will get the left-overs. Sadly, this is their predicament now. They have an unstable President, having had Hobson’s Choice for the election. At least Trump understands most of this but cannot do anything because of his own personality flaws.

    My only hope is that the Republican majority can keep the wheels on this thing and do something to control Trump. Surely violent, entitled protesters who wreck the joint (imagine taking orders from that narcissist Michael Moore!!) are a reminder of why America is fractured. Obama told them they were all special and it turns out NOBODY IS. The middle class in ‘fly-over’ country gets all that.

    China is the new hegemon and that’s frightening enough. Very sad right across the board.

  • Paul du Plessis says:

    This is probably the most difficult anthem in the world because of its extreme range and scattered tessitura. It is not a piece that should be given to a beginner to sing, no matter how photogenic she is. And, like most people who sing this anthem, she ignored the sense of the text, as exemplified by her taking breaths at the most inappropriate spots. She would not have passed this performance had she done it as an assignment in my class, but then I would not have allowed her to sing it.

    • Sara Gold says:

      “This is probably the most difficult anthem in the world because of its extreme range” — based on the origins of the tune, I’d say it’s probably a lot easier if you sing it (and listen to it) while drunk. (“To Anacreon in Heaven” was a drinking song.) Given how much the Founders of the USA drank each day, and still managed to come up with a few good ideas, perhaps one problem with today’s politicians is that they don’t drink enough.

  • NYCMusic says:

    Problem too was that all the left wing bullies were excoriating and threatening any performer who took part in this inauguration. Many more qualified people were asked to sing but many were afraid to say yes, lest they be blacklisted by the tolerant Left. Some just hated Trump and didn’t want to be part of this. The people who are criticizing this teenager should ask themselves if they would have applauded a better singer. Or should you have lifted your voices up in opprobrium.

    • CDH says:

      Well, some artists doubtless bowed to fan pressure. It would seem their fans have taste. Over his first weekend in office, Trump’s staff has consistently denied the photographic evidence of attendance at the ceremonies. One of them got on TV to justify it by referring to “alternate truth.” Meanwhile, after promising he would release his taxes after audit (although there is no restriction on his doing so during one) Trump has now declared he will never release them.

      That’s the least of it: there is absolutely no evidence that he has divested himself of any business interest. So who knows whose pocket he might be in — who he owes to, what deals he is in domestically and abroad.

      The fans did not want artists they esteem associated with this jerk. The smart artists chose the wiser way — their futures over this clown, whose future is looking like making it up as he goes along, with his own interests in mind. And using alternative truth when it suits him.

    • Bruce says:

      Well it varied. Bocelli’s fans threatened a boycott, and he backed out saying (as I recall) that he wasn’t really going to do it. Jennifer Holliday’s fans called it a heartbreaking betrayal, and she backed out saying she hadn’t looked at it that way, and couldn’t bring herself to do something that would cause such pain to the people to whom she owed her career. And Elton John, Charlotte Church, et al, just said NO.

  • cornbear says:

    Once upon a time, not so very long ago, we members of the crowd would actually sing the national anthem. We didn’t depend on some superstar singer to entertain us by screeching out “the land of the free-eeeee.” This simple patriotic pleasure has been taken from us.

  • PatJW says:

    CNN nuked the feed. There is marked distortion and volume normalising issues and I’d like to put it down to incompetent audio techs, but the conspiracy theorist in me says people don’t get jobs on gigs at that level if they’ve just come from the mixing desk at their local high school’s arts department. Search out the Aussie feed, or some of the crowd recordings for a more accurate sample to judge the performance. Jackie had just gotten over Flu, the orchestra was crap, making it difficult for her to match pitch and she’d been sitting in the freezing cold and rain for ages being a bag of nerves before she got up and was handed the mic.

    Beyonce? You mean the lip-syncing amateur that Evancho could sing rings round on her worst day ever? K. Jackie cult this, professional opera singers says that – no-one cares. At the end of the day, this was a transparent effort to make Trump look bad and at least Jackie didn’t say no so she could virtue signal, like the other talentless/hasbeen hacks that used their refusal to score political brownie points and try revive flagging careers by being leftietards. Btw, here’s Jackie singing the same song without any of the aforementioned issues tripping her up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60VcCrRpvJQ&t=0s I’m sure the opera snobs will pick holes in that one too, but it’s still the best version I have every heard so…suck it up, cupcakes.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    I get such a good laugh at the silly remarks from the snobbery who put Jackie Evancho down as if they themselves could actually accomplish what she has accomplished in only 6 years. Whatever critique you feel Jackie deserves, I will simply give you this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHOP-dmRSo8


  • Tony says:

    I was at her concert in Tyler, TX the day after the inauguration. Several points in (sort of) chronological order.
    The woman who runs the Cowan Center venue introduced Jackie. She mentioned that she got a call from Trump himself the shortly after she booked Jackie. He had not yet won the
    Republican nomination, let alone the election. He asked if “the good people of Tyler will let me borrow Jackie. I’m only going to ask her to sing new song, so she’ll be fresh.” So those who claim that Jackie was a 2nd or 3rd choice are mistaken.
    Next, anyone who wants to hear what Jackie sounds like singing the Anthem when she’s not being sabotaged by liberals to make political points has a plethora of youtube videos to choose from. The earliest is when she won an audition against many adults to sing the Anthem and then “God Bless America” for the Pirates’ season opener when she was NINE YEARS OLD.
    She’s also been the featured performer at many events in D.C., including the National Prayer Breakfast, A Capitol Fourth, the National Christmas Tree lighting, and others. They didn’t keep inviting her back because she couldn’t sing.
    Every one of her seven studio albums has opened NUMBER ONE on the Billboard Classical albums chart, and she’s had platinum and multiple gold albums.
    She just finished a two week residency at the Cafe Carlyle Cabaret, one of the oldest, most renowned, and most exclusive night clubs in New York. No one her age (just turned 17 on 4-9-2017) has ever been given this opportunity.
    search “Jackie sings ‘Caruso,'” “Jackie and Fernando ‘A Thousand Years,'” or “Jackie and Fernando ‘The Prayer'” to hear what she sounds like in concert. By the way, she considers “autotune” to be an abomination, and never uses it. What you hear is her voice, un-autotuned.

  • Tony Perry says:

    I was also at the Tyler concert on the 21st, and she was outstanding as always. At this late date, anyone still claiming her performance of the Anthem was anything but outstanding is as corrupt as the TV networks that sabotaged her sound to make political points against Trump. There are too many videos of her performance that have the actual sound she produced that day, so anyone still claiming it was a terrible performance is either stupid or a liar. Maybe both.
    She actually had every reason to give a bad performance. She had totally lost her voice up till the 18th. Some genius thought it would be just a great idea to sit a 90 pound soprano outdoors in rainy 40 degree weather for two hours before singing that difficult song. The entire production, from the position of the band below her, to the microphone and sound system set up for speaking rather than singing voices, was, perhaps deliberately, set up to produce a disaster. Yet she overcame it all.
    I had wondered why she has no concerts scheduled lately. I know that she takes off during the summer to spend time with her family, but this seemed much too early. I learned the answer several days ago. A Chinese production company has spent the last three years and somewhere between $30 and $50 million to produce a live stage production of “Troy.” Considering the 1.5 billion people in China, it’s probably safe to guess that there are a few capable singers there. Yet they have chosen Jacqueline Marie Evancho to sing the music for the play.
    Maybe the girl actually can sing.

  • Roger Phillips says:

    There were many factors concerning this performance, most of which have already been stated here. I have seen a number of cell phone videos taken by people who were there, and although Jackie’s singing was not 100%. it was nowhere near as degraded as was shown on the network TV stations. You only have to check out some of her thousands of YouTube videos (some of other National Anthem performances) to see just how good this young lady really is. BRAVO Jackie Evancho for your gift of this song to our great Nation !!!

  • Roger Phillips says:

    Some of you critics probably believe that Fergie would do better !!!