Idina Menzel Singing 'New York, New York' at Belmont Stakes Draws Mixed Fan Reactions

Feb 9, 2020; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Idina Menzel arrives at the 92nd Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre.
Feb 9, 2020; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Idina Menzel arrives at the 92nd Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre. / Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

Each of the United States' three Triple Crown horse races—in an only-in-America touch—has, or has had in the past, its own signature song.

The Kentucky Derby has "My Old Kentucky Home," a Stephen Foster ballad popular during the Civil War. The Preakness Stakes formerly had the martial, pro-Confederate "Maryland, My Maryland"—finally jettisoned in 2020.

The Belmont Stakes, however, has the people's champion—the beloved "New York, New York," made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1980. Its fame, on par with "Happy Birthday," makes it hard to butcher.

However, many fans weren't feeling Broadway legend Idina Menzel's rendition before the Belmont Stakes Saturday. You can judge for yourself here.

Some compared it to the most infamous sports vocal performance of this century—Fergie's national anthem at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

Sinatra's version was used as a point of reference (although to be fair, who could hope to compete with Frank Sinatra?)

A few fans noted that Fox's audio setup did Menzel no favors (this appeared especially true on the last verse).

All told, theatre and horse racing made strange bedfellows.

Even fans of Menzel had to concede it wasn't the finest hour for a vocal powerhouse.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.