Watch Beyoncé Smash the National Anthem


Your musical guests at President Obama's second inauguration also included James Taylor, who wore a fleece under his suit, and noted Republican Kelly Clarkson, who overcame a less-than-ideal performance slot — right after the Obama speech — with a solid but not-too-showy (until the third verse) "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." But Beyoncé was the big name, and Beyoncé had the big, difficult song — which, being Beyoncé, she nailed, even as her earpiece malfunctioned halfway through. In the pantheon of Great National Anthem performances, it wasn't close to Whitney (what could be?), and it wasn't as cool as Marvin Gaye, but by the time Bey got to "waaaaave," with the melisma and the "I did it" smile? And the entire National Mall cheering? And Biden making Biden faces? Yeah, this has to be top five.