What are the odds a highly trained singer like Christina Aguilera could mess up the national anthem?
That’s the question America is asking today. So we turned to the gambling industry to see if the prospect of such a "warble malfunction" — with apologies and kudos to Joyce Chen, of the New York Daily News, who apparently coined the phrase — was among the many "prop" bets available to gamblers in conjunction with Super Bowl XLV.
Among the bets surrounding Aguilera’s performance were:
• Will she wear a Cowboys hat during the performance? She didn’t.
• Will she have blonde hair on Super Bowl Sunday? She did.
• And, the biggie: How long will she take to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"? The over/under was 1 minute, 54 seconds. She was timed in 1:53.7 by Bodog.com. A Sportsbook.com spokesman told CNBC that, for the first time, it was paying off both sides of a bet because of her flub.
And there’s the rub. Bookies were not expecting Aguilera to botch the words. For the record, instead of singing, "O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," Aguilera offered, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming." And CNBC reported she might have added the word "oh" after the song’s last word, "brave."
No word yet on how much action sports books got on the Xtina prop bets, but she might have started a trend.
“When all was said and done, the national anthem-related prop will have drawn more attention than any other in Super Bowl betting history, at least in terms of Gambling911.com readership,” said Payton O’Brien, senior editor for the Gambling911.com website. He said Aguilera’s rendition was the most-searched-for prop bet on his website.
“It’s amazing nobody thought of this, including us,” said O’Brien, whose website occasionally supplies its sportsbook sponsors with prop-bet ideas.
According to myFOXdfw.com, Aguilera also took a tumble after her on-stage flub — stumbling to the ground on her way off the field at Cowboys Stadium.
To her credit, Aguilera apologized almost immediately for botching the song. The Grammy-winning singer said Sunday she "got caught up in the moment," which led to her singing the wrong lyrics.
Aguilera’s representatives sent a statement to The Wall Street Journal explaining her fumble.
"I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place," the statement read.
"I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."
In a Jan. 24 statement, when it was confirmed that she would sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, Aguilera said, "I have been performing the anthem since I was seven years old and I must say the Super Bowl is a dream come true."