It's that glorious time of year again: The 2017 Kentucky Derby is finally here. With this big day falling on the first Saturday in May, there's probably no better way to kick things off than with the patriotic stylings of Harry Connick Jr. for the special occasion. Connick Jr. sang the National Anthem at the 2017 Derby, and it was pretty much a traditional rendition. The thing is, that traditional take on the song Americans know so well got a surprisingly lukewarm reception on Twitter, with some going so far as to jokingly wonder whether Connick Jr. had one too many mint juleps. Oh, boy.
Last year's Kentucky Derby National Anthem was sung by Lady Antebellum, and if you cast your mind back, it was a rain-soaked affair. The country music group was rained out basically the entire time they sang with the rain stopping almost immediately. Thankfully, Connick Jr.'s National Anthem was met with much drier weather after a very rain-soaked couple of minor Kentucky Derby races earlier in the day.
Now, make no mistake: Connick Jr. National Anthem was lovely, traditional, but admittedly a little plain. He accompanied himself on a keyboard that looked like it may have been acquired from a local church. That's not a dig, it's just me trying to say that Connick Jr. definitely played it safe. His voice was in full majestic mode; for him, this was a walk in the park. For his performance, he got a hearty round of applause. So, what exactly went wrong for him?
Well, there was criticism on Twitter that Connick Jr. sounded flat and that his vocal stylings felt very similar to one John Legend. I'm telling the kinder version of these actual disses, but trust me, the reception was not the most favorable. There were plenty of other insults hurled at Connick Jr. which really aren't worth our time to discuss; you can head over to Twitter to bask in the backlash.
That said, he was met with an equal amount of good reviews, too. Like me, there were tons of people who felt his National Anthem was up-to-snuff and said so on the social media platform.
Thumbs-up to Harry Connick, Jr., for the national anthem. Classy, understated, and not drawn out. Well done. #kentuckyderby— Andrew Champagne (@AndrewChampagne) May 6, 2017
As the old saying goes, "You can't win 'em all." Connick Jr. definitely did his best, and in this writer's opinion, he did it pretty damn well.