If you monitor social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, you will know that there are people out there very distraught of her trashing of the sacred anthem. The most common arguments justifying the harsh criticism are that she is a professional, and therefore such an elementary mistake is inexcusable. The other variation is that by virtue of the amount of money she received for the performance, it is inexcusable that she forget the words.
After the performance Ms. Aguilera apologized for her mistake, saying that it was not intentional and that she hoped people felt the spirit of her love for this country.
What interests me more than the mistake is the vitriolic reaction to her untimely and very public display of humanity. Apparently there are those in the world that really believe that if you are a professional, that it means you are perfect. This not only appears to be evident in performances, but in looks and all other aspects of your career. It is no wonder so many celebrities end up trashing their lives on a personal basis, they have to express their humanity in some aspect of their lives, because in their job, less than perfection is never allowed.
Some of the symptoms of a society gone wild with perfection are the fact that too much has become artificial. Plastic surgery, dental implants, recorded music, filmed acting, lip-syncing, and even edited writing are all perfections of previously flawed, expressions of our humanity. They are not real in any sense, but are projections of what we would like to be.
I have always preferred live performances, because in them we can see the hard work that goes into creating a masterpiece, even if that masterpiece as a couple small flaws. A stage actor may sing off tune once in a while, or stutter over their words for a second, and a dancer may even miss a step. The top artists in their field will have the fewest mistakes, but by and large, the perfectly executed show is very rare, indeed, the humanity of an imperfect performance is half of the joy. (This is different from a generally bad performance that shows no excellence at all)
I have long believed that movies and fiction are great ways for us mere humans to enjoy thinking people really can be perfect, but it seems that some people actually believe that if you are paid enough money, you must be perfect; no exceptions. This constant quest for perfection in an effort to make tons of money is a flaw in the American moral values system.
The Christina Aguilera performance before the Super Bowl showed off her tremendous talents as a singer. Her rendition of the anthem was unique and powerful. Her stumbling over a phrase that is very similar musically to another phrase, but professionally working through it without stopping shows grit and professionalism. Even if it was not perfect, it was beautiful, especially for the flawed humanity it displayed.