She Persisted: Gladys Knight Wows America With National Anthem Performance

Screen grab via CBS.
Screen grab via CBS.

There were a lot of lows from last night’s Super Bowl, but Gladys Knight’s stirring performance of the National Anthem was not one of them.

The Hill reports that the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history had it’s worst ratings since 2009:

An estimated 100 million viewers watched the Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the Super Bowl from Atlanta on CBS Sunday night, marking the lowest ratings the big game has seen since 2009, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen Media Research.

The audience numbers for this year’s game, which was the lowest scoring result in the game’s 53-year history, clocked in with a 44.9 rating in households.

That was the lowest rating since the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl.

And while Maroon 5’s halftime performance is being widely panned as a dud, Atlanta native Gladys Knight won rave reviews for her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner:

The game itself was being called “super boring,” but words like “superb,” “amazing” and “rousing” were being used to describe Knight’s rendition of the National Anthem, with some comparing it to Whitney Houston’s classic 1991 performance at Super Bowl XXV.

“The 74-year-old can still bring it. Fans watching on Twitter almost universally loved Knight’s rendition,” USAToday declared.

“Gladys Knight brought down the house,” said the Huffington Post.

“Gladys Knight delivers spine-tingling rendition of National Anthem at Super Bowl, after vowing to ‘unite’ the country amid Colin Kaepernick boycott controversy,” wrote The Daily Mail.

Even a notoriously fickle Twitter audience loved her performance.

Knight was criticized by social justice warriors for her agreement to perform the anthem at the Super Bowl, which they perceived as being a slap in the face to Colin Kaepernick. She shut down critics with this response:

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she wrote. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.

“I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.

“No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it. I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us.”

The “Empress of Soul” defended her decision again on the Friday before the Super Bowl in an interview with CNN‘s Don Lemon, who asked the 7-time Grammy winner if she was afraid this would derail her career:

For those who missed it or want to watch it again, click below:

Well done, ma’am. Well done.

–Connect with Sister Toldjah on Twitter.–