It is official: Aretha Franklin won Thanksgiving. The queen of soul had the pleasure of singing the US national anthem before the Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings game on 24 November, but her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner became bigger than the event itself. Rather than stick to the traditional format, Franklin's version extended to almost five minutes, sending Twitter into a meltdown.
Mixing her classic regal style with casual wear, Franklin, 74, sat behind a piano dressed in a thick grey fur coat and Detroit Lions beanie hat for her performance at Detroit's Ford Field. The Respect singer then proceeded to serenade her hometown with a gospel-inspired, church-like and ultimately very slow rendition of the national anthem.
During the four-minute and 35-second performance, the players were seen getting itchy feet as Franklin ad-libbed her way through the song while guests in the stands applauded and gave standing ovations for her efforts.
Twitter was flooded with hilarious reactions and memes reacting to Franklin's extended rendition, with one joking: "Kaepernick would've developed arthritis in his knee for kneeling so long if the 49ers were playing while Aretha Franklin sang the anthem."
Another quipped: "Gonna need a commercial break in the middle of the National Anthem," while another tweeted: "I cooked my whole turkey, ate and did the dishes during Aretha Franklin's National Anthem performance." Referencing Donald Trump's election to the White House, another joked: "if Aretha Franklin's strategy is to stretch this anthem out for four years and completely bypass Trump's term in office, that's pretty smart," while another commentator chimed in: "Woke up this morning, Aretha Franklin was STILL singing the National Anthem."
Watch Aretha Franklin perform a five-minute version of the US national anthem:
Some celebrities also got in on the running commentary with rapper Missy Elliott tweeting: "Aretha Franklin is A LIVING LEGEND who has been A inspiration 2 many artist. RESPECT! & yes come through With the Gospel chords ayyye," while MC Hammer added: "I'm glad #ArethaFranklin sang an extended version of the National Anthem.. took them to Church ..made them search their hearts."
James Taillon, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, also quipped: "Thankful Aretha Franklin doesn't sing the Anthem when I pitch. Pretty sure I would have to go back to the pen and warm back up #pipesthough."
It seems that Franklin's lengthy version of The Star-Spangled Banner worked wonders for the Detroit Lions, as her hometown team claimed a victory over the Vikings.