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Reba McEntire, Post Malone and Andra Day kick off the Super Bowl

<i>Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images</i><br/>Reba McEntire sings the National Anthem ahead of the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
Reba McEntire sings the National Anthem ahead of the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday.

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — Reba McEntire, Andra Day and Post Malone kicked off America’s unofficial holiday with entertainment ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.

Country star McEntire performed the national anthem, R&B singer and songwriter Day sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” while rapper and singer Malone performed an acoustic version of “America the Beautiful.”

Though it may seem like a certain superstar singer is mentioned in every reference of the game, Taylor Swift is in attendance but not among the performers on the field. Malone, however, does have a collaboration with Swift on “Tortured Poets Department,” which is scheduled to be released in April.

“It’s really nice,” Malone told Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe earlier this month. “She’s so sweet and so kind and talented and she hit me up and said, let’s do it. And I was like, hell yeah.”

The heavily tatted up Malone has another connection to Swift as he has a Kansas City Chiefs tattoo. Kelce is, of course, a tight end for that team that is playing their second Super Bowl in two years, this time against the San Francisco 49ers.

Malone said the tat was a result of losing a game of beer pong against Kelce and the Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahones.

“We played beer pong, me, Mahomes and Kelce, and I said, if y’all beat me right now, I will get this KC tattoo with their autographs,” Malone said. “And we had a tattoo artist there for some reason. And then I had to walk away from the table and get it forever on my body.”

McEntire also has a personal connection to her performance of the national anthem, albeit not a tattoo.

The singer told Lowe she’s been singing the song for five decades now and it helped kick off her career.

“I’m honored. This is my 50th year of getting to sing the national anthem,” McEntire said. “I sang it the first time at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974, got my singing contract because of that. So this is kind of going full circle.”

Day leaning into the “gospel element” of the historically resonant, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is known as the Black national anthem.

“For me, I am a deeply spiritual person, so for me, it’s worship. My mother and I were talking about it the other day, and she says to me, she said, ‘This song is a hymn.’ And I was like, ‘It is,’” the Grammy-winning singer said at a press event ahead of the game this week. “I look forward to the point where singing this song and singing songs that represent people and talk about liberty and freedom and togetherness for everybody, I think I look forward to a moment when this is not so much a conversation. It just becomes the norm.”

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