On Sunday, singer-songwriter Jewel took the stage at the Indianapolis 500 to perform the national anthem, and her rendition left spectators divided. The 49-year-old artist, clad in a white outfit and donning a cowboy hat with a checkered-flag bandana, delivered a soulful performance while strumming an acoustic guitar, as F-16 Vipers soared overhead. While some race fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway cheered in appreciation, a diverse range of opinions emerged on social media.
A Twitter user named Jacob, who identified as a “huge NASCAR fan,” expressed his disappointment, stating, “This is the perfect example of how not to do the national anthem. It was to the point of being disrespectful.” Another user concurred, commenting, “I’m sorry, but the National Anthem should NEVER be changed up like this. Good artist, bad choice!” A third individual chimed in, criticizing Jewel’s rendition as a “butchering” of the anthem, emphasizing her decision to keep her hat on throughout the performance.
However, not all viewers shared these sentiments. Some Twitter users questioned the negative backlash, suggesting that worse performances had been witnessed in the past. In fact, rock musician Ted Nugent expressed his appreciation for Jewel’s rendition, describing it as “f***in beautiful.” Another user highlighted that while Jewel’s performance was enjoyable, the national anthem should be sung in its original form, as it represents the sacrifices made by military personnel to uphold freedom in the United States.
The reactions to Jewel’s performance demonstrate the wide spectrum of opinions regarding artistic interpretations of the national anthem. As a song that holds deep patriotic significance, some argue that it should remain untouched and performed in its traditional rendition. They assert that altering the arrangement diminishes the historical and emotional weight that the anthem carries.
Conversely, there are those who appreciate artists who infuse their personal style into their performances. They argue that these interpretations can add a fresh perspective and bring a new dimension to the song, while still conveying a sense of patriotism and respect.
Ultimately, the debate surrounding Jewel’s rendition of the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 highlights the complexity of honoring a beloved national symbol while accommodating artistic expression. Different individuals hold varying expectations for how the anthem should be performed, leading to a range of opinions on Jewel’s rendition. It is a reminder that the national anthem is not just a song, but a representation of the sacrifices and dedication of the military personnel who have defended the nation’s freedom.
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 28, 2023