Harper Gruzins, the 11-year-old girl who sang the U.S. national anthem at a Major League Soccer game last weekend, has come under fire across the country for her version of the song.
Deadspin even dubbed it "the worst national anthem rendition ever," but, as the Gruzins criticism piles on and there continue to be so many other bad versions of the song, some sports fans are wondering why it is performed so often in the first place.
Gruzins admitted the performance -- a video of it can be found below -- could have been better, but she wasn't prepared for the echo and feedback a stadium full of 22,000 fans would provide.
Roseanne Barr's version of the national anthem in which she grabbed her crotch and screamed into the microphone is widely considered the worst rendition, followed by Steven Tyler's performance at a recent NFL playoff game, as noted by TMZ. And, of course, Christina Aguilera made headlines for getting the lyrics wrong at the 2011 Super Bowl, a version you can watch on YouTube.
Part of the Deadspin post that began the latest media conversation about "The Star-Spangled Banner" read, "Normally, we wouldn't post something that made fun of a little kid, but this particular child publicly refers to herself as a singer-songwriter and any kid who has that much pretension at age 11 deserves to be knocked down a few notches."
After the Deadspin post went live this week, Harper Gruzin's parents jumped to her defense. Along with questioning why so many people were making fun of an 11-year-old girl, Kelli Gruzins cited technical difficulties during Harper's performance.
"We think the things being said about her are mean and hateful," Kelli Gruzins said in a conversation with Fox News about her daughter. "We're just going to ride it out and support our daughter. ... [W]e just know she did her best."
As the argument of good versus bad now envelops a preteen, there have questions raised as to why the national anthem is sung before sporting events.
In the U.K., the British used to sing "God Save The Queen" before their games, but the practice tapered off toward the end of the 20th century.
In the U.S., "The Star-Spangled Banner" gained popularity during the 19th century and was sung at public events such as Fourth of July celebrations and parades, according to Mental Floss.
President Woodrow Wilson declared in 1916 that it should be played at all military functions and other federal events, most likely because of World War I.
During the 1918 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, a band played the song during the seventh-inning stretch of the first game and it was warmly greeted. The owner of the Red Sox -- Harry Frazee, a theatrical agent, director, and producer -- then decided it should be played before each game of the series. After WWI ended, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played only during big games.
When World War II began, the song once again started to be played regularly at baseball games, and it just didn't stop. The practice then spread into other sports as they gained popularity.