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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The 5 worst performances at sporting events

By D'Arcy Maine
ESPN The Magazine

Ashlee Simpson
Ashlee Simpson's tortured vocals meet Orange Bowl crowd. Lusty boos ensue.
To commemorate the release of ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, this week we will be taking a look back at some of the worst sports-related music moments of all time.

Didn’t love Alicia Keys' rendition of the national anthem or Beyonce’s halftime performance during Sunday’s Super Bowl? Just know: It could have been much, much worse.

How bad, you ask? So bad that our scouring of the YouTube vaults was painful to both our eyes and eardrums. All for you, dear readers ...

5. Ashlee Simpson, "La La," 2005 Orange Bowl

You make me want to AH AH AHHHHHH. Not just a lyric in Ashlee Simpson’s "La La" -- also how every single person witnessing this halftime show must have felt. Simpson screeched her way through a performance in front of 72,000, torturing those in the crowd with each attempt at a note, sounding more and more like a shrieking hyena as she went on. When the auditory assault was all over, the crowd responded with a loud chorus of boos. At least something associated with this performance was done in harmony. Now we understand why she preferred to lip-sync.

4. Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious,” 2001 NBA Finals in Philadelphia

There is really only one rule when performing in an arena for a sporting event -- don’t wear the away team’s apparel in your performance. Someone (we’re looking at you, Tina Knowles) unfortunately forgot to pass that memo on to Destiny’s Child. During the 2001 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the 76ers, the singing trio was the halftime performance for Game 4 in Philadelphia. Michelle Williams, already the lowest woman on the D.C. totem pole, shocked the crowd by wearing a Lakers jersey while the backup dancers dressed in purple and gold. You know, in front of a Sixers crowd. While the performance itself is mediocre, it’s the smattering of boos throughout that put it on this list.


3. Carl Lewis, national anthem, Bulls at Nets, 1993

This is what happens when you let your ego get the best of you. Despite horrible reviews from his recorded work, Carl Lewis decided to his bring his vocal, um, stylings to a live audience. Performing before the Bulls-Nets game in 1993, Lewis forgot most of the words and failed to hit a single note correctly, all while Michael Jordan looks on in sheer horror. Honestly, Charley Steiner's classic reaction makes it all worth it in the end.

2. Ozzy Osbourne, “Take Me Out To the Ballgame," Dodgers at Cubs, 2003

Don’t do drugs, kids. This virtually inaudible attempt at the baseball classic in the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field should really just be used as a public service announcement to discourage the rock-n-roll lifestyle.

1. Roseanne, national anthem, Reds at Padres, 1990

There’s no other way to say this: This rendition of the national anthem has to be the worst singing of this song ever. Like, worse than the worst second-grade-recital butchering. We’re not entirely sure what the Padres were expecting when they asked her to do the honors, but we’re guessing their expectations were more than the dying-cat-sounding screaming that we heard. Francis Scott Key must roll over in his grave every time someone watches this clip.