Singer who butchered anthem given second chance

Alexis Normand

Alexis Normand

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

SASKATOON - It has become known as the Star Mangled Banner incident but singer Alexis Normand says she’s going to bounce back from the disastrous performance to sing again at the Memorial Cup.

Her rendition of the American national anthem Banner has made her an international sensation to the point where CNN’s Wolfe Blitzer interviewed her Monday and asked her to sing the anthem on air.

So did the American television program Inside Edition.

And apparently, “she nailed it,” it both times.

Normand performed the American and Canadian national anthem before the Memorial Cup tournament game between the Halifax Moosehead and Portland Winterhawks Saturday.

The Saskatoon jazz singer missed on the third line of the United States anthem and it went downhill from there.

She hummed some of the words and replaced words with other words. The crowd helped her out and she finished the anthem strongly. She went on to do the Canadian anthem well but the damage was done.

“It’s a terrible feeling when you (blank) on the words,” she said. “I tried to stay collected but then the panic set it.

“But I got a lot of help from the crowd. They were great. What was really great is that they were mostly Canadians singing and it was the anthem from the opposition. That’s an incredible gesture.”

Normand is staying positive about the whole thing.

It was the first time she had performed either anthem just learning the American anthem that morning.

When she got off the ice after the performance she was upset but thought the incident would “blow over.”

“But I noticed right away all the activity on twitter,” Normand said. “I was so embarrassed. I didn’t take it well but I thought it would blow over. But it turned out to be a big thing.”

Indeed it did. It is approaching 200,000 views on YouTube and has been featured on various websites.

It’s difficult seeing one of the most embarrassing moments get international attention.

The tape of the incident shows people smirking, laughing and shaking their heads.

“It’s been incredible (the attention this created.) It has been hard,” Normand said. “I’m human. This type of thing happens to people.”

The video also shows the Portland Winterhawk bench with some players trying not to laugh and others with their heads down.

“I’ve actually never heard anything like that,” said Winterhawks’ Taylor Leier. “There were a couple of guys on the bench who actually started singing to help her out. It was pretty unique.”

Leier said he felt sympathy for her.

Leier and his roommate Ty Rattie, tried to sing the anthem in their room that night after the game.

“I know if I was out there, I would probably do the same thing,” Rattie said. “I don't blame her. Me and (Leier) were trying to do it the other night and I can't figure out the words so don't ask me to do it, that's for sure.”

Normand has been supported by family and friends but she’s happy with the support “strangers” have shown her.

It’s not the first time an anthem performer has caused a sensation at the Canadian Hockey League's championship tournament.

Last year in Shawinigan, Que., singer Jean-Francois Bastien revealed a political message on his shirt criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government during his performance. After the incident, Bastien was dropped from future performances at the tournament.

But Normand will be back. She’ll be singing Tuesday night at the Memorial Cup game between the London Knights and Mooseheads. Only the Canadian anthem is needed.

She says all this has made her stronger and has been a learning experience.

“I learned how important it is to get your head in the game,” she said using a sports expression.

She also won’t let this one incident get her down.

“It was hard but a lot of people told me they know I can sing,” Normand said. “It’s not something that is going to define me. Life goes on.”

 


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