Trump is preceded by worst ever national anthem

Trump is preceded by worst ever national anthem


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2021

This is the US national anthem that opened Conservative Political Action Conference 2021.

Just before Donald Trump turns up for his first major event since leaving the Whote House.

Check your dental insurance.

UPDATE: The singer’s name is Sailor Sabol. She’s a GOP member from Orlando, Florida, and she’s available for weddings, christenings and executions.

SIDESHOW: Top contenders for the Star Mangled Banner

And check out the key changes below.


  • Petros Linardos says:

    A metaphor for that cult’s respect for the constitution.

    • Rogerio says:

      What is happening in America has a positive side to it.
      When all trust in the U.S. is gone, Europe will wake up and take its place in the world.
      And you know what that means.
      German aircraft carriers!!
      Let’s see who makes who nervous then.

      • Morgan says:

        At best crude comments even if sardonic.

      • Maria says:

        What on earth has that got to do with singing the American National Anthem by a totally self-obsessed singer and so out of tune, so many transpositions of key, with a chest voice dangerously pushed up? Is that the best they could find? Ghastly rendition. Nothing to do with the Germans or any part of Europe.

      • Tamino says:

        Aircraft carriers are so 20th century.
        I‘m doubtful about Europe‘s future leadership role. Look at our younger generations. Arguably almost as passive and decadent as the same generations in the US.
        Going by that, the future is China dominated.

  • Remarker says:

    Truly remarkable

  • Albert Dock says:

    To quote Victor Meldrew.
    ‘I don’t believe it.’

  • Roman says:

    Worse than what we saw during Biden’s inauguration, but not much worse. Quite comparable I’d say.

  • Ben G. says:

    Even Florence Foster Jenkins is turning in her grave.

    • Sisko24 says:

      Florence Foster Jenkings is probably angry she didn’t get stylistic credit for that rendition of the national anthem.

  • Wimsey says:

    The Star-Spangled Banner is notoriously difficult to sing, but this was really too much.

  • Robert Levine says:

    The new tune for “Amerika uber alles.”

  • John Borstlap says:

    Solfeggio has never been a strong point of the neoconservatives in the USA.

    But my PA claims this lady sings quarter tones and that it’s a version by Charles Ives.

  • Amos says:

    White privilege run amok X 2.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      No, I think the ultimate white privilege was in WW2 when thousands landed on the beaches of Normandy or earlier ‘privileged’ men who were shot down in their thousands during the Battle of Britain.

      Yeah, that’s real privilege right there. I wonder if they thought about that as many of them fell from the sky on fire in their cockpits.

      Interesting irony; they died to protect the freedoms of those now hectoring white people as having ‘privilege’.

      • Amos says:

        White privilege word salad #219. Interesting irony; despite facing Jim Crow at home and segregation within their ranks men and women of color volunteered for service during WWII in unprecedented numbers to fight fascism wrought by white nationalists.

      • Larry D says:

        Yeah, all those white men storming the beach at Normandy simultaneously yelled out, “I’m doing this for all my black brothers that segregation has kept far away from me!”

      • True North says:

        The way you go on about WW2 heroes, it’s almost like you’re taking credit for their sacrifices. I know you’re old but you’re not that old.

        You’re also 100% off-topic, but thanks for playing anyway.

    • Bone says:

      You should watch Carl Lewis.

  • Operapass says:

    Simple, it’s because they lack empathy. You can’t express music without empathy.

  • Marc Parella says:

    For a tone deaf party, they deserve a tone deaf singer.

  • RW2013 says:

    Isn’t he in jail yet?

  • Ned Keane says:

    Fucking hell that is awful

  • Fred Funk says:

    Just missing a 12-piece viola ensemble…….

  • Bone says:

    This is not the worst national anthem; arguably, that award goes to Carl Lewis.
    Nice job finding a way to throw a quick Trump-bashing in your headline – you needed to change the first title, but I’m sure it was worth it. Can you imagine Trump’s face when he sees your clever jab?
    Yeah, me neither.

    • Glen Pritchard says:

      She was dreadful and you know it. Tht she was the best they could get says a lot about the draw CPAC has.

    • Theodor Adorno says:

      I can certainly imagine it, with the orange pancake makeup cementing his cellulite-filled jowls into a rictus of glee

  • J Barcelo says:

    Modulation Randomitis. You hear it all the time at professional sports events. This was really, really bad, but I’ve heard worse, at WNBA games. Doing it in a combination of 4/4 and 3/4 adds to its badness.

  • henry williams says:

    sounds like the singers on a cruise ship.

  • V.Lind says:

    That girl needs to go back to singing scales. She went off key half a dozen times in that APPALLING rendition.

  • Joe says:

    Worst since Rosanne Barr!

  • Kathy says:

    No one should have let this child humiliate herself in this way. As a voice teacher, it makes me terribly sad to think that any parent or teacher would allow this to happen on a national stage.

    • William Evans says:

      She’s not a ten year old – I can just imagine her response should her parents or (music?) teacher have advised against her ‘big break’!

  • Jean says:

    Interesting modulations…

  • Bill says:

    Really have to see the version with accompaniment for full enjoyment.

  • Mike says:

    She has a name, Norman.

  • Alank says:

    Your note implies that this singer took the stage just before Trump spoke. Well I checked and it is at least 4 hours since you posted this and Trump has yet to speak. You clearly suffer from TDS. Go put on a Bernstein recording of Mahler 3 and clear your head of this obsession

  • K S T says:

    This is what happens when you defund the Arts.

  • sam says:

    Microtonal Star Spangled Banner. She hit each quarter tone perfectly.

  • Buffalo Barfly says:

    Ouch! She thought she nailed it too.. hilarious!!

  • Pence Obamacrat says:

    Wrong- this was from Day 1 of CPAC, so Thursday. This was not the immediate preamble to Trump currently speaking. Please get things right once in a while, Norman.

    • William Evans says:

      So? That hardly excuses this excruciatingly awful rendition.

      • Chad says:

        It just cheapens it to try and somehow link it to Trump. Trump’s done enough on his own and doesn’t need any help in that category. Also, this performance was bad enough as it is and doesn’t need Trump’s name hitched to it.

  • RINO says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves…if she wasn’t white, you wouldn’t be allowed to criticize. Lest you be immediately cancelled.

    • jt says:

      This just isn’t true. This scenario is every republican’s nightmare for some reason. The people who really get cancelled are usually… bad people.

  • Keven says:

    Please see the version Larry Goldings performed (with her) on youtube…amazing….amazingly bad…

  • Trip says:

    The worst President ever deserves the worst national anthem ever.

  • Stephen Lord says:

    And this is what happens when the people in at convention want to hack away at the arts. Just saying….

  • john says:

    We do have real-time auto tune programs available. today. as in, available for use to avoid such things.
    “They may say that I can not sing…”

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Well befits the fascistic vermin in attendance.

  • JM says:

    Tone deaf. Just like Rethuglicans.

  • Ready messed up now says:

    I can never ever hear that song again

  • Davis Gloff says:

    Who was this,and why did they let her sing? Is she somebody’s relative? mistress?

  • Rainey Foster says:

    Actually painful to listen to and reflective on how tone deaf this institution and their messaging is….

  • Hmus says:

    Her musical ability is on a par with her political acumen.

  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    A rare opportunity to compare snarky comments and snarky commentators on SD with those on YouTube itself. You folks here need to raise your game — this is pitiful.

  • fflambeau says:

    Trumpers don’t know a good note from a bad one just like they don’t realize their leader is a scam artist. Why expect them to have musical taste?

  • Triad trouble
    Modulation mishap
    Accidental accidentals

    Not to worry, however. A Good Samaritan has set it to music…

  • Karen says:

    The Star Mangled Banner!

  • EmeraldSue says:

    This tune (if legend is to be believed) originally was a drinking song. Not a dirge. Poor woman. How many keys did she dwell in momentarily?

  • Dean says:

    Is Q a key signature?

  • MacroV says:

    Even better with accompaniment:

  • Dr. Placebo says:

    All Keys Matter.

  • Marie Hammerling says:

    She is following in the footsteps of Florence Foster Jenkins

  • Peter San Diego says:

    The Right went bonkers in 1990 when comedienne Roseanne Barr butchered and shrieked her way through the anthem when opening a baseball game. Will there be similar political outrage this time? I somehow doubt it.

    As to which performance is worse, I leave it to musical masochists to decide.

  • Nick2 says:

    I have asked before: why on earth does any country allow its national anthem to be completely mangled by singers who either cannot sing even reasonably in tune or believe they have the right to play havoc with the rhythm. It has become a running joke when watching most events American.

  • Lamomana says:

    Painful. Turn the volume down. You already know the words.

  • None says:

    Just Plain Bad. Unless the pitch deviation were intentional.

  • lawrence says:

    awful, downright embarrassing

  • Westfan says:

    That was hysterical, thanks for sharing. Very fitting for that group. Why was the other woman standing next to her? Very odd.

    • William Evans says:

      ‘Probably the only position in which she was able to avoid the fully intensity of this aural assault!

  • Couperin says:

    This almost makes it bearable:

  • Daniel St John says:

    Well that sucked. I guess it is as fitting as the golden statue of the republicans new god or the stage she just massacured the Star Spangled Banner on that is a replica of the Nazi SS emblem. Remember who we are dealing with here.

  • Flo says:

    Florence Foster Jenkins would be proud.

  • Dave T says:

    Democracy is hard for these folks. I wouldn’t expect them to be able to handle it’s signal tune.

  • CR Wang says:

    The tone-deaf unmusicality of America’s KKK White Supremacist party.

  • stweart says:

    Considering that the flag and Anthem are the subject of so much pride (supposedly) why is the Anthem almost always “murdered”
    This is in another league though !!!!

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    Apart from barely singing a single note in tune, this Ivanka- coiffed warbler forgot the latest text of “The Trump Spangled Banner”:

    Oh say you will see, Donald Trump in true light
    Such a cowardly crook, always cheating and scheming
    His disdain for the truth, toxic Tweets through the night
    He’s a klepto and con, ever posing and preening
    With his gold-plated hair, chasing ass everywhere
    Plotting treasonous crimes from his Florida lair
    Oh say does that Trump spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the fleeced – hapless home of the Knave.

  • Fiddleman says:

    She was singing in the key of Q- anon.

  • Margarida Cunha (Portugal/Macau) says:

    Agree with Mr. Lebrecht 100%

  • Fiddleman says:

    She’s singing in the key of Q-anon.

  • If this had been notated precisely as screamed, it would have been deemed unperformably difficult. It takes some talent to perform like that!

  • Mr. Knowitall says:

    You’re all dupes to the LameStream Media. This lovely woman sang our National Anthem perfectly!

    p.s. Trump won! Reverse the steal!

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      Is Mr Knowitall deaf as well as dumb?

      • BruceB says:

        One can never be sure on the internet, but… methinks his comment is satirical.

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference opened with a tribute to a great American patriot: John Cage. New pitches for the Star Spangled Banner were selected through the i Ching by the casting of red, white, and blue yarrow stalks.

        Stand by the TRUE elected president and avant-garde art lover Donald Trump. Fight fight fight!

    • Save the MET says:

      Ah, the combination of a hooked fish and a tin ear.

  • Patrick says:

    Those are what we call “alternative pitches” (to paraphrase Kellyanne Conway)

  • Music fan says:

    Oh, my. That “rendition” was in several keys at once. Positively schizophrenic as befits the current GOP.

  • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

    The touchstone of a corrupt and artistically bankrupt music education system. That is all there is to this travesty. (This is also be the tip of an iceberg of ineptitude of whose dimensions we are not aware.)

  • Save the MET says:

    The performance has been transcribed to a score. You can now perform it her way yourself. Once again, the GOP proves it cannot attract genuine artistic talent. Perhaps they should rethink their stance on the arts.

  • Tom Graham says:

    “Who knew that such music was even possible? One hear’s such sounds and can only think: whackjob wingnuts!”

  • Sisko24 says:

    Schoenberg and Berg would be very proud of this 12-tone, microtonal rendition. Don’t you agree?

  • Sisko24 says:

    The next time she sings the national anthem in this way, EVERYONE will be kneeling….(or writhing on the ground/floor).

  • M McAlpine says:

    Yes the rendering is awful – so is the spelling of ‘Whote House’ btw!

  • Mommahasitall says:

    Is this a joke? I don’t think anyone could change key so many times without doing it on purpose!

  • Amos says:

    If I had played the trumpet at Oberlin the way she sang… I would have flunked out in the blink-of-an-eye!

  • William Evans says:

    I had to stop watching at 1:04 – too painful for words (and so entirely appropriate to introduce Donald Trump)!

  • Ben G. says:

    Fabulous harmonization Emily!

    It reminds me of the music of Gesualdo, which isn’t as spiced up as much due to the cocaine she used to perform:

  • actor212 says:

    She had more keys than the Keymaster in the Matrix.

  • Sangerinde says:

    This (among other things) is why the anthem – ANY national anthem – should be sung communally. Even before COVID restrictions might reasonably have been used as an excuse, the trend toward using soloists for the American anthem seems to have completely swallowed up the practice of singing it together, to everyone’s detriment, and the bonkers mixed-meter arrangements so in vogue now (including Renée Fleming’s contribution a few years ago at the Superbowl) only make it harder to sing along.

    It’s not an aria. It’s a communal demonstration of patriotism and solidarity. The multitude of unfortunate musical errors made by this poor young woman are dwarfed by the category error that enabled her performance in the first place.

    • Ben G. says:

      Any Google search on”Why is the American National anthem hard to sing” will give you more details on the technical aspects of the melody.

      Usually performed in Bb major, the tessitura, or vocal range, spans 12 notes (Bb to a high F). If a singer or chorus can’t hit the high F, then the key should be lowered to facilitate the range, maybe to an Eb or D. There are other anthems that are more difficult to sing as well: Ecuador and Togo for ex.

      Think about the Beatles tune “With a little help from my friends”–only 5 notes. Rumor has it that Ringo had difficult singing anything, so they wrote him an easy song.

  • Dave Assemany says:

    Oh Lord! Is this for real, or did someone manipulate it somehow? I keep googling snopes to find out but with no luck.

  • She was singing all the right notes, but not necessarily…

  • Rudiger says:

    She was really quite…breathtaking.

  • Dave Horne says:

    … available for weddings, christenings, and executions … is a wonderful line.

    Let me buy you dinner for that.

    Look me up if you visit the Netherlands.

    Dave Horne, Vught, The Netherlands

  • Greta Canty says:

    If she’s available at executions, as stated above, the person being executed
    would be like ” shoot me now , shoot me now! “

  • André Papillon says:
    A québécois vocal quartet re-harmonized it and, by golly, it sounds almost good, like Max Reger on acid.

  • Lil says:

    Is she somebody’s daughter or cousin! WHY was she asked? . I’m 88 years old and I would’ve been happy to sing! I’m available for weddings, (or funerals), too!

  • Rob says:

    That’s not true. The Carl Lewis National Anthem at a Chicago Bulls game back in the 90s was way WORSE. He forgot the wrds in the middle of the song, and it went downhill from there. It took everything the players had not to burst out n laughter. If you think I’m lying, look it up on Youtube.

  • Frank says:

    The USA anthem is notoriously hard to render; it’s range is not to be done by one person, really. Even famous versions, such as Whitney Houston’s, are rather painful. I find the way the CPAC singer fakes it really rather amusing, going thru various transposing floors to suit her range. However, some cop should have taken her away for the way she turns into a fire truck siren on ‘free’.

  • Fluffy says:

    Okay, okay,okay, now here are your instructions….I have listened to this horsemanure from start to finish and because you are mine – you are my indentured servants and HAVE TO LISTEN from start to finish. Oh just trust old Aunt Mary, you will be laughing your heinie off from 1/2 way thru til the big let down at the end. Then yer gonna be helpless! ***Insult to injury….listen to the cold fish applause at the end!