Cyndi Lauper is being widely criticized on Twitter for botching the lyrics to the national anthem at the U.S. Open during an otherwise moving remembrance of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
Lauper performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to the beginning of the women’s final (correction: semi-final) match between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, and was doing fine until she got to that crucial line regarding ”the ramparts we watched,” the same line that Christina Aguilera famously botched during this year’s Super Bowl. While Aguilera's error involved a reference to “the twilight’s last reaming” — a line that surely Francis Scott Key did not have in mind when he penned the poem that inspired America’s definitive piece of musical patriotism — Lauper modified the lyric less significantly.
“O’er the ramparts, we watched as our flag was still streaming,” she sang, instead of the usual “O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming.” Watch a clip, complete with an outraged American’s YouTube commentary, below.
Naturally, tweeters went nuts and, in yet another irony, blasted Lauper for making such a terrible mistake while making an error of their own and completely misspelling her name. (Yes, Cindy Lauper has been a trending topic tonight on the social networking site.)
The incident, as musical errors often do, raises several questions. What is it about the ramparts that causes so much confusion among professional female vocalists? Will anyone even remember this happened since it occurred during a tennis match and not the Super Bowl? (Probably, but I am guessing it won’t be as big of a deal.) And, most importantly, was this really an error or did Lauper change the lyric on purpose?
Given the context of this particular national anthem performance — one in which soldiers unfurled the American flag on the court as Lauper sang, on the eve of Sept. 11 — it’s possible that the “Time After Time” artist modified the line on purpose, to suggest that our flag indeed still streams despite the tragedy that occurred a decade ago.
It’s unclear if that’s really what happened here. But one thing is clear: if you change the words to the national anthem during a public sporting event, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection will have something to say about it.