Martina McBride to Sing Anthem at Indy 500

Country-music siren Martina McBride will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” during pre-race ceremonies at the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Most likely she will belt out the performance, much like we expected Kelly Clarkson to do at the Super Bowl here instead of offering this rather restrained take.

That McBride has a lovely cover version of “Over the Rainbow” was some delightful foreshadowing to this view of downtown Indy from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the day of the announcement.

“I am extremely excited that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has invited me to this year’s Indy 500,” McBride said in a statement on her website. “It is a huge honor to sing the National Anthem at what is known as the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'”

What does that canned comment tell us? That McBride will probably deliver a perfectly inoffensive, drama-free performance, unlike some past 500 anthemists. The vocalist tapped to sing our nation’s timeless song is always a matter of great interest and, sometimes, dispute. David Hasselhoff sang the song at the 500 in 1986, and Aerosmith frontman and American Idol judge Steven Tyler was villified for this in 2001.

Here’s a list of pre-race anthem performers since 1999:

2011 — Seal, Kelly Clarkson and David Foster
2010 — Jewel
2009 — Indiana National Guard
2008 — Julianne Hough
2007 — Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
2006 — Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
2005 — Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
2004 — Jessica Simpson
2003 — Daniel Rodriguez
2002 — West Point cadet Josephine Holmon
2001 — Steven Tyler
2000 — Jessica Andrews
1999 — CeCe Winans

List via The Indianapolis Star

Photo via Martina McBride’s Facebook page