Luke Bryan is one of the foremost country stars of 2017 — and more importantly, a Georgia native — and he kicked off Super Bowl LI tonight with a solemn and traditional rendition of the national anthem. Today’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots promises to be a pretty fierce rivalry, and it sure doesn’t hurt to have another southerner kick off the musical events of the evening.
Of course, Lady Gaga will be performing at the halftime show later — not Migos, despite the petition that emerged asking for them to perform when Atlanta locked down their berth in the game — and odds are she will be getting very political, and pissing off conservative groups like the NRA. Sports, never a dull moment right?
Interestingly enough, it was Lady Gaga who performed the national anthem for last year’s super bowl, so maybe tapping Bryan is a sign that a country star is slated for 2018? As far as tonight’s performance, an amped Bryan, dressed down in a low-key burgundy t-shirt but he signaled his southern allegiance with a pair of gleaming cowboy boots. His signature vibrato helped carry him through the song’s often treacherous high notes, and though he may be a Nashville star now, Bryan is most certainly rooting for his Georgia hometown team. Watch the performance above and look for our halftime show coverage later in the night.