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Stop American Idolization

One of my New Year's resolutions was to become more solutions-oriented in this column.

In the spirt of harnessing this cold-eyed inner CEO, I will propose something that will enrich all our lives and henceforth save us from national embarrassment.

We need to reevaluate "The Star-Spangled Banner" in its current incarnation at major sporting events.

To my Tea Party readers, this does not mean eliminating our national anthem altogether.

In fact, my inner Tea Partier is disgusted at how our song of songs is desecrated time and again with no one calling for a stop to the madness.

The issue was raised in a particularly horrible way last weekend during the New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens football game.

Boston native Steven Tyler, he of Aerosmith and "American Idol," made a mockery of himself, his country and the good Patriots fans who packed Gillette Stadium to see their team take another step toward the Super Bowl.

Little did they suspect their march toward glory would include stepping in a festering pile of flubbed lyrics, tortured screeches and awful '80s Sunset Strip cowboy threads in the form of one Steven Tyler.

You could argue these New Englanders got what they deserve. After all, Boston was the city that spewed Aerosmith onto the world sometime in that Godforsaken era known as the mid-'70s.

If you haven't seen it, here's the YouTube link: http://goo.gl/hhGY3

Sorry about that. I just cost you 1:55 minutes that you'll never get back.

I can see it now. The stage: Your death bed. They've decided to unhook you from the machines keeping you alive. Your last thoughts: "Damn that Chris Conrad. Robbing me of 1:55 minutes — 1:55 minutes! So much time. I could have told my wife I loved her. I could have petted my dog. I could have watched 1:55 minutes of amateur porn on Fleshbot.com."

Tyler joined a pantheon of anthem butcherers that include Roseanne Barr, Christina Aguilera, Cyndi Lauper (that one hurt — I like Cyndi Lauper) and those two "American Idol" contestants at last year's World Series whose CDs I'm sure are now available for $8.99 at your local Walmart.

The song's tongue-coiling lyrics and massive octave jumps make it notoriously difficult to sing.

It stands to reason, then, why you wouldn't want a hack such as Steven Tyler getting near it.

The best anthem performances are rooted in simplicity. They dig into the song's roots as a poem, to be spoken aloud in an intimate setting, not belted in acoustically vacuous football stadiums.

Which is why I blame Whitney Houston's much-praised rendition at the 1991 Super Bowl for the problems we face in 2012.

Houston can sing. No doubt. But her uber-diva power notes stretched the tune into an drawn-out tirade of rockets' red GLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAREEEEEEEEEEEs and the like.

She all but created the applause lines near the end of the song, a pandering attempt to turn the national anthem into a showcase to sell you the newest song on iTunes.

A tip: Just sing the damn song. Stop showing off your vocal range by attempting to break wine glasses to kick off a football game.

Oversinging is as part of our culture as apple pie and Bill Belichick's mangled hoodies on Sundays. It's not going anywhere, not as long as "American Idol" keeps equating painful note-stretching with vocal talent.

In the interest of solutions, I ask you to write your Congress members requesting that they institute either Marvin Gaye's simple, soulful and damn sexy performance at the 1983 NBA All-Star game or Jimi Hendrix's trenchant critique — but ultimate celebration — of our nation during his Woodstock show-stopper as the official national anthem at major sporting events.

The host team can choose to pipe in either song. Hell, they can use their 200-foot JumboTrons for accompanying video reenactments of Navy SEALs blasting Osama bin Laden. I don't care.

Just sing the damn song. And if you can't, get out of the way and let Marvin or Jimi take over.

I am limiting this to only major sporting events. This doesn't seem to be an issue at high-school and community-based contests — at least not the ones I've been to. I've found that the local Girl Scouts troop or rodeo queen usually does a pretty good job.

Because they just sing the damn song.