My preschooler is enamored with all things “Annie.” She’s seen the movie too many times to count, listened to the original Broadway cast recording so often that our iPod has started picketing, and acted out her hard knock life to the extent that I’m considering waxing if she insists on continuing miming yanking the nonexistent whiskers from my chin.
That being said, she claims she’d like to be Annie on stage, but I’d be cautious if she ever really wanted to perform in front of major crowds unless I could be sure she wouldn’t be laughed at. She seems to have some talent, but I wouldn’t think any parent would want their kid to be subjected to any kind of major scrutiny unless they could be reasonably certain that such a young and impressionable young ego would be applauded instead of booed. It’s just not fair and too complicated otherwise.
What the parents of 11-year-old Harper Gruzins of Coppell, Texas, were thinking is beyond me. Harper performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Major League Soccer match in Texas last weekend and she was just awful. Just. Awful. She’s 11, and yet sounds all screechy, breathy and sexy, like she’s Marilyn Monroe seducing JFK with “Happy Birthday.” Except she’s 11, this is the national anthem, and she just can’t sing. And she’s 11, so it just feels icky and inappropriate that she’s trying to sound like a sex pot. Did I mention she’s 11?
Quite understandably, Harper has been raked over the coals for her awful performance, with some critics calling it the worst rendition of the song ever — Roseanne Barr and Steven Tyler sound like angels by comparison. But that’s what happens when you perform so publicly: You openg yourself up to criticism. Of course when you’re only 11, maybe you don’t understand that. But her parents should have known better.
According to FoxNews.com, Harper said it wasn’t her “best performance” and she had trouble hearing herself because of the echoes and the 22,000 soccer fans in attendance.
Her dad has also defended her performance.
“We believe in our daughter, we support our daughter,” Karlis Gruzins said. “We think that the things being said about her are mean and hateful. We’re just going to ride it out and support our daughter. That’s our stance on it.”
He said the haters won’t deter his daughter from continuing to perform. And maybe they shouldn’t, but hopefully she’ll learn from this that being in the public eye means having to withstand criticism from the public, although it does seems as if she thinks it’s all part of a larger plan.
“God allowed this to happen, so I know it’s what he wants,” Harper said.
Still, it seems a bit doubtful God would have wanted an 11-year-old to try and sound like she’s trying her hand at seduction while singing a patriotic song. But she and her family might just know something God, the critics, and most of that soccer stadium didn’t. At least let’s hope they do.
Watch the video and sound off below on what you think of her performance:
Photo and video credit: YouTube