Eric Church did country music, and most importantly, the country, proud on Sunday night (2/7) when he stepped forward to sing the National Anthem ahead of Super Bowl LV. The singer joined forces with Jazmine Sullivan for a remarkable and ultimately perfect rendition of the anthem.
The North Carolina native, who looked dapper in a purple suede jacket, kicked the performance off and sang the first verse solo. Sullivan took over for the second verse before the two finished the song together. It was Sullivan’s voice that got Church on board for singing the anthem, as he never anticipated performing the iconic song ever in his career.
“Let me tell you something. She may be the best singer. I was floored,” he told the Apple Music Country podcast Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “And you know what, the best thing about this, no matter what happens, because that’s a nervy thing that we got to do, but what a fan, I’m a fan. I’ve went in and listened to everything she did. And I had heard her name, but full disclosure, I had not listened.”
He went on to admit that he never thought he’d take on the pressure-filled performance, but agreed that this was the year.
“I’ve said this forever, ‘I will never, ever sing the National Anthem,’” he explained. “It’s so hard. Except the Super Bowl, and I fully assumed. I mean, I’m not Chris Stapleton. I fully assumed they’re never going to ask me. So, this is the first.”
Watch Church and Sullivan perform the National Anthem above. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on their home field (a first for the Super Bowl) tonight. Keep up with the game on Twitter.