Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lee DeWyze Jim Cornelison

Lee DeWyze
Everything about this weekend's epic Chicago Bears home game against the Green Bay Packers seems to be hotly contested, all the way down to the singer of the National Anthem. But after some wrangling, America's latest Idol will be taking a back seat to Chicago's favorite son.

Earlier this week, Lee DeWyze, the Mount Prospect, Illinois native who won the most recent "American Idol" competition, seemed to have the gig locked up. On Monday, he Tweeted, "National Anthem at home, yes. Go Bears."

But that notion rubbed some Bears fans the wrong way. After all, the city already has a resident anthem-belter: Jim Cornelison.

A native of Vienna, Virginia, Cornelison moved to Chicago in 1995 to work with the Lyric Opera. The classically-trained tenor has been singing the anthem at Blackhawks hockey games at the United Center for four seasons now, and his full-throated vibrato makes for a goosebump-imparting anthem. (Maybe second only to Marvin Gaye on our favorite anthems list.)

Fans spoke to NBC Chicago Tuesday night, and seemed worried about changing the Anthem singer on such a big game day. Some superstitious fans feel he could be a winning voice for the Bears--especially since he sang when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year.

Today, team officials announced a compromise: DeWyze will perform at halftime, and Cornelison will hang on to his anthem-singing duties.

For proof of his skills, here's a look at his performance last week against the Seattle Seahawks. The clearly inspired Bears came out to score a touchdown on the fourth play from scrimmage, and went on to win a 35-24 game that was far more dominant than the final score indicated.


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