The moment was especially poignant for the 68-year-old star as she had previously sang the national anthem fifty years prior at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma when she was just 19 years old. This moment is believed to be the place where she was discovered.
While many modern artists have been criticized for trying to change up the song and make it their own, McEntire is being praised for keeping her version traditional. The singer and actress wore a sparkling outfit and big belt buckle as she belted out the lyrics with the accompaniment of a pre-recorded horn section, per Variety.
The entire performance was interspersed with patriotic imagery, including fireworks, American flags, and troops stationed abroad.
— NFL (@NFL) February 11, 2024
“Reba McEntire proving why she’s a living legend,” one social media user commented on X. “No gimmicks needed.”
Another agreed, writing, “An all-American choice here.”
“Now THAT’S how you show patriotism! Thank you Reba!” a third commenter echoed.
McEntire shared her thoughts on how she got ready to sing on football’s biggest night.
“I prepare by being prepared,” she said at a press conference. “I’ve been singing the national anthem in the shower, when we get in the car… Rex (Linn), my boyfriend, is a huge football fan. He’ll say, ‘Sing it one more time.’ I’ll say, ‘I think I know the words real good right now, so I’m all right.’”
“It means that I get to sing a very special song for all American people around the world who have really worked so hard for our freedom and to give us peace…. It’s not about me. I’m a representation of this song, and I’m just honored to get to sing it. It’s a good one. I’ve been doing it for 50 years and I’m really proud to get to sing it,” McEntire added.
Country singers have been tasked with singing the national anthem before the last four Super Bowl games, including Chris Stapleton in 2023, Mickey Guyton in 2022, and Eric Church as part of a duet with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan in 2021.
Demi Lovato was the last non-country star to take on the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the 2020 Super Bowl game.